Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dear Google, about those 404 errors on Blogspot

Dear Google Search Console Team,
aka sc-noreply @

Thank you for writing to me to inform me that here are so many problems with my blogpage. And that 404s seem to be on the rise. I must admit, I thought your email was a phishing email. So, I sent it to the Spam folder. But then I did a little research, and your letter seems authentic. Though there are numerous hacks listed, this does not seem to be one of them. I may be wrong. If, so then this is a record.

To: Webmaster of,
"Googlebot identified a significant increase in the number of URLs on that return a 404 (not found) error. This can be a sign of an outage or misconfiguration, which would be a bad user experience. This will result in Google dropping those URLs from the search results. If these URLs don't exist at all, no action is necessary."
First, I had no idea I was a webmaster of my own bloggy kingdom. Does it involve whips and chains, cane-back chairs, kinky black and red leather and lace? Help! I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this information. I click on most of the links and nothing happens.

Some of the blogposts I could access from your provided links, and remove the dead links. But most were dead links, with no redirect, and because they were a jumble of letters, I have no way to even guess what blog post they're referring to. Alpha-numeric word salad.

In the process of trying to make it all work, I discovered a feature on Blogger, to hide bits of blogs. A spacer that creates a divider, for further reading: "Read more...". I'm in hog heaven, as I tend to heavily footnote my writing—(I suspect those excessive links are part of the process that you've taken umbrage to. But now I can hide them from the main article. And those first drafts of poems I tend to save at the bottom, can now be hidden from the finished poem. Fraloo-fralay! But I digress....

Some hot links provided year, month, title, so I was able to access those posts and fix the dead links. Thanks a lot Santa Rosa Press Democrat for revamping your archives and leaving me with a plethora of dead links...

Speaking of "bad user experience," when I "fixed" my Atacama Civilizations piece for you, Blogspot created yet another null page. Scared the crap out of me, as I thought it was forever deleted...

You, dear Google, automatically created that 404 page, not me, when I hit the "fix" URL link. Oops! Luckily I did a search and discovered it was still there. But now I will have to hunt down all my cross-referenced post leading back to that URL and fix them. Talk about cross....

This was the original working URL

When I 'fixed" the URL, it changed, creating yet another dead link.

I had to hunt down the piece, fix cross-referenced posts with a new URL.

And while we're at it, when I upload an URL link for a photo, it should not say "Upload a URL" but Upload an URL. You can't have two unaccompanied vowels snuggling together like that. It leads to the fambly tree going straight up. Besides, it's easier to say an URL versus A (uh) URL, URL, URL, Duke of URL.

Second, several of the old pages you listed as having something wrong with them, were blogposts that I had written, and YOU, dear Google, stalled on the Publish upload, and then wiped my posts clean. As in void. The blank white page.

I was able to recreate most of the lost posts from scratch, but I still mourn for my lost post on Medieval Irish calligraphy and writing—as a lot of deep research went into that post—only to have it disappear. Poof!

Ditto that with my Boschka Layton memorial piece... Have you any idea what it's like to have to recreate a very long and detailed blogpost (2 to 5K words) from scratch?

Ditto that with my Viking Redhead post (my most popular post, pushing 80,000 hits). I'm terrified to even open it to correct the dead URLs, let alone "fix"anything. You've erased it no less than three times during the upload (Publish/Update button) process after I made corrections.

Mar 23, 2009, 52 comments

I finally got wise and made a backup copy in TextEdit, before I hit that Update button. So, you can see why I'm not willing to open that particular post to fix corrections. I might lose it and all the comments its garnered.

Speaking of "bad user experience," you, Google, have not been very good to me over the years as a creator of unique blogger content...Blame it on my slow DSL, or some odd configuration at your end. But it's not been s smooth, or effortless sail. And yes, I have written to you many times. Sometimes I even see my suggestions implemented... But mostly I yowl into the void of cyberspace.

Then there's this:
Search Console
Increase in “404” pages on
It looks like the majority of those 125 null pages were when I moved posts to their correct creation dates in Blogspot. I don't see any way to add a redirect, but won't this eventually fix itself?

It seems silly to go to a non-existent page (that I can't even access) and add another redirect page when the page is merely moved to a different date within Blogspot. Won't the web crawlers eventually catch up? Besides, it's poetry. Who even reads poetry?

And yes, I do see that this email is a No Reply @ Google. But I had to get it off my chest. It will probably wind up as a blog post. You know how that goes. Squeaky wheel and all that. Thank you. I do feel better now.

Apparently Google Search Console Team aka sc-noreply @ is a hacker haven gateway. Make sure you're the only verified owner of your blog. Early and often.

Check out Google's Managing users, owners, and permissions
and Webmaster Central, and Google Search Console In other words, do not use the included link in your email but search out Google tools on the web, and work backwards from there. This is how I verified the email as true, or safe.
See the Crawl Errors - 404 not found Help Center article.
Some articles that date back to 2015
Hoax email from (allegedly Google Search Console Team)

Beware of “New Owner” Google Search Console Verifications

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