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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yahoo!’s New “Common Tag” Initiative: Revolutionizing the Web, Search and SEO – Hopefully

Posted by @ 6:42 pm

common-tag-logoThe promises of semantic search have been circling for what seems like an eternity with no real definitive moves.

Yahoo! and the other companies involved in the Common Tag initiative (AdaptiveBlue, DERI (NUI Galway), Faviki, Freebase, Yahoo!, Zemanta, and Zigtag) are hoping to deliver on the promises of a semantic driven internet. As detailed in the press release:

Common Tag is an open tagging format developed to make content more connected, discoverable and engaging


Before I go into the details of Common Tag, for those of you wondering what the heck the semantic web is all about, here’s a mash-up definition I’ve created from a few different sources:

The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It’s an extension of the current Web that will allow you to find, share, and combine information more easily.

In a nutshell under the semantic web will see information/data within traditional web documents tagged in a common format so that machines and people can more easily process it.

So how will Common Tag help to see Semantic reach its potential?

The biggest challenge with the semantic web is deciding on a convention that everyone agrees on. Many of the framework’s proponents want to develop their own methodology. Without a single direction, the concept falls over.

Common Tag promises to deliver a framework that will overcome the current shortcoming of tagging conventions.

The Common Tag format was developed to address the current shortcomings of tagging and help everyone—including end users, publishers, and developers—get more out of Web content. With Common Tag, content is tagged with unique, well-defined concepts…

Common Tag also provides access to useful metadata that defines each concept and describes how the concepts relate to one another.

While the virtues of Common Tag are definitely noble and make sense as we continue to produce mass amounts of information at unfathomable rates – but is it realistic?

It’s hard to tell whether it will ever really take off. It’s like W3C Guidelines. Whilst created with the greatest of intentions, getting everyone to adopt them is challenging.

And whilst I’m no web developer, it looks like creating applications and web content will be far more involved and complex than currently. Let’s face it – complacency/laziness has seen many of the best concepts fall by the way side.

From a search engine and SEO point of view, the likes of Common Tag and other Semantic frameworks will be a great way to help define the relevance of content, but potentially are equally susceptible to abuse.

  • Are you a fan of the Semantic concept?
  • Would you go the effort of implementing a semantic framework within your website?
  • Do you think Common Tag can deliver on Semantic where others have failed?

Share your thoughts below…

definition inspiration: &

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

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