Google recently announced that they will stop supporting "data-vocabulary.org" for their rich snippets. They will focus and support only schema.org. Their statement said that seeing increased usage for schema.org markups they will focus on supporting only one structure for rich snippets.
For most of the users that currently have snippets of code that used data-vocabulary.org, this will translate at first into a warning notification on your Search Console with a message looking like this: "data-vocabulary.org schema deprecated".
First of all let us understand what data-vocabulary.org or schema.org is. Or even what is structured data and how it helps us and where is it located.
Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on. Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general.
Data-vocabluary.org data resides inside the HTML code of your website and looks like this:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/breadcrumb">...</div>
Schema.org data type looks quite similar, but it is the supported type now:
<ol itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BreadcrumbList">...</ol>
Notice how data-vocabulary uses <div> to declare breadcrumbs then <span> and schema.org uses <ol> (ordered lists) and then <li> (list item). This is just a simple reason Google chooses schema.org type. It is much more better organized as a list than divs.
Before April 6th 2020 users that use data-vocabulary.org will receive a warning in their search console, but after this date the warning is replaced by an error. Also after this date data-vocabulary structured data will no longer generate rich results snippets.
Fixing the "data-vocabulary.org schema deprecated" error/warning
If you are using a CMS like Shopify or Wordpress that use templates for different pages it is simple:
- Log into your Admin panel
- Reach the code editor and navigate to the template that holds the data causing these warnings
- Replace all itemtype attributes that have data-vocabulary.org as values with schema.org.
- Save the file and inspect your page again with Structured Data Testing tool
- If everything looks ok, validate the changes on Google Search Console
For non-CMS users the solution is exactly the same, except you will most certainly have the code structured in another way. Find all data-vocabulary.org values and replace them with schema.org.
A more advanced approach could be to replace the micro-data with JSON-LD schema. Micro-data resides inside your HTML code and is quite hard to manage as your website scales. JSON-LD schema can stay inside a single file and included in all the pages. This makes it extremely easy to maintain and with some clever coding it can even generate data dynamically. Also Google states that although it supports both micro-data and JSON-LD schema, the latter is prefered.
No matter the approach you chose to handle this issue, make sure to have only one type of structured data installed on your website, as multiple instances of the same thing will cause conflicts or errors, or maybe Google will ignore all of them and not generate rich snippets.