Guilt by Association – RDFa and other RDFs

One would think with the potential that Resource Description Framework Attributes or RDFa would be a very popular website coding approach to switch to, especially given that it makes the communication of a website with a search engine far easier and effective than plain search engine optimization or SEO. However, a lot of pundits still exist out there against RDFa, which may seem a bit puzzling. Part of it has to do with misconceptions about what RDFa exactly is. Part of it is also due to confusion with and because the logic behind RDF/XML still suffers from a lack of theoretical clarity, particularly with its use of nodes and what a node actually is (no, it is not the nose on a snowman).

A different kind of coding dubbed RDF/XML has been released prior to RDFa which cause all sorts of headaches as noted above. In particular, the core elements of RDF/XML make it hard in complex models to nail down what actually makes up the elements of RDF/XML. As a result RDFa, which has the same letters in its acronym, triggers bad memories in developer minds. These professional web designers then avoid then RDFa use with a passion.

While both concepts have plenty to do with Semantic Web Design, they are different approaches. RDFa involves the embedded coding in the website HTML that speaks directly with metacrawler programs from search engines. This allows for far more refined instruction and information exchange than basic embedding of SEO tags and meta descriptions. As a result, a website owner can better describe and communicate his website to a search engine, which potentially results in a better ranking. That in turn potentially produces better cold lead traffic to the website from people just searching for a term. That’s a far different description than for RDF/XML.

Unfortunately, just like in life, guilt by association still dominates the human psyche. So while humans still generally control the construction of websites, their psychological flaws will also create false limitations with new and beneficial technology. The above probably makes for a good argument that computers should take over, no?