Meaningless messages aren’t just annoying

Following my blog post about instructions that don’t work, now I’m worried by meaningless messages.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Google – you know, the people trying to take over our online world – saying “New Index coverage issue detected” for my website. It went on, “This means that Index coverage may be negatively affected in Google Search results.”

I was concerned. No-one wants to be “negatively affected” in Google Search. Then there was a slightly sinister sentence: “Submitted URL has crawl issue”.

Well, I didn’t think I had submitted my web pages to Google. If I had, it would have been a long time ago. You can submit your website to Google and other search engines, but you don’t have to. Many people don’t know that. Google picks up new websites and new pages anyway, and astonishingly quickly, provided your site is well structured to make it easy for search engines to find and, in tech-speak, to “crawl”.

So what was the problem? The “crawl issue” was on one page. I looked at the code and couldn’t find anything different from similar pages on my site. I also searched, using the exact title of the page, to check that it had in fact been indexed by Google and therefore could be found. There it was. Now I was getting annoyed.

After spending, or rather wasting, some time trying to understand what the problem might be, I resigned myself to pressing a link that said “Fix … issues”. I hate that uninformative word.

Bingo! I received another email from Google saying the “issues” had been successfully fixed – by me.

I am none the wiser, except that I know I have been worried unnecessarily and have wasted time trying to decifer meaningless words. What do I do next time I get such a message? Next time it might be important.

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