Google Announces Big Changes to Structured Data Coming Soon
Google has already changed so many things in 2020 and they just announced their newest change. On January 22nd 2020 in an official blog post that in April of 2020 data-vocabulary.org schema markup will no longer be supported by Google rich results features due to rising demand and usage of schema.org.
Test your structured data HERE.
So what does this mean for web developers in the coming months?
Google has started sending out warnings to site developers whose websites are using data-vocabulary.org schema. The warnings looking like this:
Developers and website owners should take advantage of this warning period to transfer needed schema from data-vocabulary.org to schema.org before the April 2020 deadline. As of right now, the warning has no effects or consequences until after the deadline. After that point, anything on your website using the old method will not be indexed, at all.
Another thing developers need to pay attention too is plugins. We had this situation arise when our developers started receiving the warning messages about sites that use plugins that already implement schema.org markup. There are many plugins that implement schema.org into a site instead of data-vocabulary.org because after the development of schema.org by Google it became popular and widely used. Once we started investigating the issue, we noticed that the plugin we are using on this website was in fact the latest version and up to date, but was actually updated a month ago thus causing the code to be out of date to Google’s new announcement. Triggering a warning message to every site that uses this plugin.
It is important to always make sure that every plugin you use is current and up to date and yet also working with Googles constant updating.
The same goes for themes, the error message can also be triggered by themes that use schema.org that you are using on your site. The way to fix this is to wait for the theme developer to post an update or get in contact with the theme owner as well to see if and when an update is coming that will implement the new changes.
But why is this important?
Why is this important you might ask, well structured data relates directly to SEO and organic traffic. Structured data created by schema is a foundation for machines to understand website content. It explains what the content is about, what kind of content it is, and much more to help search engines like Google and other machines understand what your website is about and the purpose of it effectively and efficiently. Having correct schema is critical for indexing.
Using schema helps developers take control of how their information is seen and understood by these machines. Structured data is used to develop organic searches by matching the markups to searches that are most correlated and relevant.The schema markups are also related to rich snippets and is a very important aspect to SEO and click through rates for it can increase both and creating more conversions. Increasing traffic.
Another useful way schema relates too and helps SEO is through featured snippets. Featured snippets appear before all organic searches are pulled directly from structured data increasing your click through rate and traffic. This also has a direct impact to voice searches for Google pulls results from featured snippets to be featured. But if a website is using data-vocabulary.org schema after the April 2020 deadline it will be penalized thus resulting in loss of traffic and organic growth, strongly affecting the SEO of the website.
In all, web developers and website owners please be mindful of the changes coming in the new year by Google and what actions you need to take before April 2020 to save you time and frustration in the months to come.