Semantic Search Engine Optimization (SSEO)

Situation Analysis

We continue to be faced with the dual challenges of a somewhat nebulous understanding of the manifestation of a Semantic Web, and the consequences of not accepting its inevitability.

In recent times, the emergence of the Fake News meme and a tireless quest on the part of all Web content publishers for better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have collectively unveiled palpable pain points that demonstrate why we need a Semantic Web.

Fake News

The recent US elections made “Fake News” a topic of high importance. Irrespective of political persuasion, we can all agree that fallibilities in this regard have been greatly magnified across Facebook, Google, and Twitter.


Fake News is simply the consequence of low quality structured metadata embedded in Web Page. Fundamentally, Web Agents are unable to make sense of Web Content.

Semantic SEO (SSEO)

This is about moving beyond the simple keywords approach of traditional SEO to an enhancement that leverages use of RDF-Language sentences as the basis for structured metadata embedded in Web Pages. Net effect, documents on the Web (or on a private Enterprise WAN or LAN) become easier to understand by search engines — and the next generation of AI-enhanced Digital Assistants (a/k/a Smarter Agents).

Semantic Web Growth courtesy of Linked Data constructed using terms from vocabulary
Semantic Web Growth courtesy of Linked Data constructed using terms from vocabulary, using a variety of notations (HTML+Microdata, JSON-LD, and various Microformats)

How do I apply SSEO?

Acquire tools that productively aid the process of content curation and publication. Fundamentally, these tools need to address the needs of important stakeholders such as:

  • Web Design Professionals
  • Application Development Professionals
  • Data Integration Professionals
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Adverting Professionals
  • Corporate Executives

The following Semantic SEO related tools have been used to produce the demonstrations in this post:

  1. OpenLink Structured Data Inclusion Engine (OSDI) — a soon-to-be-released engine (or cloud service) for infusing existing HTML documents with islands of structured data, using any combination of several RDF-Language notations including JSON-LD, RDF-Turtle, HTML5+Microdata, (X)HTML+RDFa, and Plain Old Semantic HTML (POSH)
  2. OpenLink Structured Data Sniffer (OSDS) — a browser extension (for Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, Firefox, and Edge) that discovers and presents structured metadata embedded within HTML documents
  3. OpenLink Structured Data Editor (OSDE) — a hosted or local application for visually importing, editing, remixing, and exporting documents containing RDF-Language sentences

Here is a simple demonstration of the effect of the OpenLink Structured Data Inclusion Engine (OSDI) on some of our pre-existing Web Content.

For clearest understanding, please install the OSDS browser extension in your browser before proceeding.

An Example with the OpenLink Data Access Drivers

Visit the Web Page at <>, the home page of our Universal Data Access (UDA) Drivers for ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, and OLE DB. Click on the Structured Data Sniffer icon in your browser’s toolbar to see a structured data description of that Web Page, as depicted below:

Clicking the link there for ODBC, <>, you’ll come to:

You can follow your nose further; for instance, to the page about the Lite Edition ODBC Driver for Oracle, <>, to see a description of the Software Application in question:

If you scroll down, you’ll discover the description of an image that illustrates the Software Application’s architecture:

As you continue to scroll, you’ll discover descriptions of associated offers, such as that depicted below:

Likewise, descriptions of the Items included in an Offer, e.g., a Software License (which is the actual Product on Offer) for one of our ODBC Drivers for Oracle:

Then an actual description of an image that illustrates License subtleties:

And finally, you will encounter a description of the Offer’s Pricing (formally, its Price Specification):

Here’s Google’s assessment of content from our ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET, and OLE DB Driver’s document collection, in line with the SEO narrative outlined above:

An Example with the Virtuoso Universal Server

Repeating the same exercise around our Virtuoso Universal Server, visit the Web Page at <>. Click on the Structured Data Sniffer icon in your browser’s toolbar to see a structured data description of that Web Page, as depicted below:

Descriptions of actual Offers, Prices, and Software Application:

Here’s a description of an image that depicts Virtuoso License subtleties:

And finally, a description of an Image that depicts product usage scenarios:

Here’s Google’s assessment of content from our Virtuoso document collection, in line with the SEO narrative outlined above:

What’s going on here?

A collection of machine- and human-comprehensible RDF-Language sentences has been used to describe everything on our Web Sites, from our Company, to our Product Offerings, to the Items included in those Offerings — even the Web Sites themselves.

These sentences have been constructed using the vocabulary, a collection of terms that are increasingly understood by search engines. In a nutshell, this is a Web of Linked Open Data, contextualized for both human domain experts (e.g., folks in product marketing and advertising) and search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yandex, Yahoo!, and others) via their understanding of the nature (Semantics) of Classes (Entity Types) and Properties (Relations or Relationship Types) that are described in the vocabulary.

What’s the benefit?

Google and Facebook have been highlighted as sources of “Fake News” during the recent US Elections, much of which has stemmed from their inability to effectively analyze content in Web Pages and its provenance (who, what, where, and when) en route to better ranking. We now have a transparent and mutually-beneficial mechanism for improving the Web by better describing that content, whether as author, publisher, marketer, advertiser, or commentator.

Closer to home, we at OpenLink Software have a rich portfolio of products addressing the myriad challenges of data access, integration, and management. Naturally, that presents huge challenges for content management (curation and publication) that are substantially alleviated via this technology. We’ve developed and used this technology to solve our own problems, en route to sharing it with the world.


As stated in a previous post, we already have a Semantic Web of Linked Open Data that provides a new frontier for exploiting technology from the Web Technology Stack. This emerging dimension of Web Interaction addresses challenges that are clearly insurmountable using today’s "Web 2.0" patterns, i.e., verifiable identity, content provenance, and semantically rich data integration.

Every major brand on this planet should immediately begin taking advantage of Semantic SEO. It is the only effective route to the kind of agility you’ve long desired from your massive investments in Web Presence.

Engaging OpenLink Software’s powerful product portfolio is a major shortcut to taking advantage of what a Semantic Web has to offer. We know this because we take full advantage of this technology ourselves!