Google’s John Mueller said on stage at BrightonSEO last Friday that sometimes when Google says “I don’t know” they actually do know but they don’t know the proper PR way to answer the question yet.
Hannah Smith asked John “you’re kind of the conduit, I guess maybe, between the SEO industry and Google. And I’m really keen to understand how the internal PR team at Google feels about you.”
So John went into explaining how sometimes he and his colleagues are Google are in a position where new things come up and they need to answer questions that have yet to be vetted by the Google PR team. He said his team and the PR team get along well, and there are rarely big issues but sometimes he said “we get some interesting emails.” But overall, they do a good job.
And sometimes John will say “I don’t know” even when he knows the answer because either he isn’t sure how PR wants him to answer it or he is not the right person to ask that question. He said “a lot of times when when we say I don’t know, it’s not that like we have no clue what is happening here. It’s just I we don’t know exactly how this would be framed.”
Here is the embed at the start time at 3 hours and 29 minutes:
Here is the transcript:
Hannah Smith: You’re kind of the conduit, I guess maybe, between the SEO industry and Google. And I’m really keen to understand how the internal PR team at Google feels about you.
John Mueller: Why is everyone laughing? I think we have a tricky role because in general the PR teams when you work at a bigger company they like to prepare all the messaging. Like this is exactly what you say when someone asks this question. And we’re often in a situation where something completely new comes out and people ask us about this and we need to have some kind of answer that we can give them. So sometimes we come out and say something that might not be exactly what they had prepared or what they thought like they would prepare. That makes it sometimes interesting, I think we get some interesting emails sometimes. On a whole I think it’s working out fairly well. So it’s not like we’re fighting or anything. But there are also lots of questions where basically we either don’t know exactly the answer or we don’t know how Google would generally frame something like this. Where we just have to say well, I don’t know. It’s like this is a new question new type or topic I don’t know. Or maybe it’s like a question about Google My Business or Google Analytics or I think probably I’d know the answer but I like I’m not the person to ask for that. So I’d say like I I don’t know. And a lot of times when when we say I don’t know, it’s not that like we have no clue what is happening here. It’s just I we don’t know exactly how this would be framed.
Forum discussion at YouTube.