Google announced that it is discontinuing the use of several image and video sitemap extensions. Google stated they decided to sunset the use of these sitemap extensions after evaluating the value of the tags. The deprecated tags and attributes will have no effect after August 6, 2022.
Google announced that the documentation for the removed tags and attributes have already been removed.
The image and video sitemaps will continue to be a part of the sitemap specs. The deprecation is limited to specific image and video tags and attributes.
Reason for Deprecation of Image and Video Sitemap Tags and Attributes
Deprecated, in terms of computing and software means that a version is declared to be obsolete and should no longer be used.
According to Google, the value of the information passed through the now deprecated tags and attributes no longer warranted the trouble of using them.
Google didn’t specify why in this announcement other than to say that the value of the tags were evaluated and the decision to deprecate the tags were made based on that evaluation.
The statement noted:
“Over the years, we introduced a number of tags and tag attributes for Google sitemap extensions, specifically the Image and Video extensions. Most of these tags were added to allow site owners to deliver data more easily to Search.
Upon evaluating the value of the Google sitemap extension tags, we decided to officially deprecate some tags and attributes, and remove them from our documentation.”
The announcement did say that Google Search Console may issue notifications once these deprecations are included in the next schema versions of the affected extensions.
In order to understand what that means, one needs to listen to a recent Search Off the Record podcast that was about sitemaps.
Google’s Gary Illyes stated this in the podcast about deprecating sitemap tags and attributes:
“I think it would be worth looking into those tags and attributes, and see if they are still useful, because some of them have been replaced or not replaced, complemented, let say, with schema…
So some of those things, some of those tags and attributes have structured data counterpart.
And if they have a structure data counterparts, then maybe it’s better to supply them in the structure data, because then all parsing in one place instead of two different places.”
So that might be the reason why those tags and attributes were deprecated.
Deprecation is Not Immediate
Google has set a date of August 6, 2022 as the date that the tags and attributes will officially be discontinued, giving plugin and theme makers time to remove the deprecated tags from their sitemap output.
There is no penalty or negative outcome should publishers choose to leave the discontinued tags in their sitemaps.
However there will also be no benefit to using those tags.
Deprecated Image and Video Tags
Deprecated Sitemap Image Tags and Attributes:
These are the discontinued tags and attributes:
Google published a special note regarding the license data:
“Continue using IPTC metadata for providing licensing data.”
Deprecated Sitemap Video Tags and Attributes:
These are the deprecated sitemap video tags and attributes:
- autoplay and allow_embed of the <video:player_loc> tag
- <video:price> tag and its attributes
- <video:tvshow> tag and its attributes