Yesterday, Barry Schwartz made a post quoting Google’s John Müller as saying that “Debunking SEO Myths and Theories is not scalable.”
With all due respect, I know for a fact that JohnMu is not being entirely honest in his Tweet, and I think the time has come where I need to disclose some hard facts about the workings of Google vis a vis the global SEO sector and the unmitigated Tinfoil Hattery spouted by the more vocal SEO Hypothesists on the Web.
John… We go back a long way and I know I’m pledged to Google by legal agreement. I am also aware that what follows will constitute disclosure of company secrets and thus likely result in my being ejected from the TC Program. I do however feel it my honorbound duty to finally tell the truth about what’s really going on in your team.
My apologies, old friend, but I simply cannot stay silent any longer…
Here is a firsthand account of Google’s actions in dealing with an evermore demanding SEO sector, bound and determined to overanalyze and misinterpret any and every public statement made. Targeting not only John Müller, but every other Googler who tries to inform and educate webmasters and online business owners with public statements, Tweets, informational videos, or conference appearances, SEOs have been consistent in their actions relating to the web’s largest search giant.
I’m sorry, ladies and gents of the SEO market sector, but you’ve been duped, because you’ve done nothing but antagonize – and exploit your interactions with – Google and its staff for the better part of two decades.
They’re toying with you…
Google could very easily debunk each and every kooky or downright idiotic SEO Hypothesis as soon as it appears on the web. The resources to do this have existed since Q4 of 2014. Google just doesn’t want to bring them to bear on addressing the rampant level of ignorance in the SEO sector, and it’s time Search Engine Optimizers found out the truth about what’s possible and what isn’t.
It all started on one of my visits to Zürichplex last year, when I found out the real reason behind Google’s recent, draconian changes to its In-Office Photo Policies for visitors.
Following the first morning’s training sessions I was enjoying lunch with John Müller and a couple of his team members, when John excused himself from the table. Wearing his customary blue jeans and black t-shirt, he walked from the room, to return a couple of minutes later sporting khaki shorts and a red t-shirt. This quick-change act puzzled me somewhat, so I quizzed him about it.
He told me he didn’t know what I was talking about, which only peaked my curiosity further.
We split up after lunch and I stepped outside to get something from my rental car. When I returned for the afternoon session, John was dressed somewhat less casually, in slacks and a shirt. Once again I questioned his change of attire and once again I was told that he didn’t know what I was talking about.
What John failed to realize, however, was that the item I’d retrieved from the car was my Spy Camera Cap. Placing this on the side in our meeting room, I proceeded to record the afternoon’s session. When we broke up for the day I left it in situ, still recording.
Prior to the following morning’s meeting I reviewed the cap’s footage on my smartphone. What I found frankly shocked me to the core.
Within a couple of minutes of my leaving the room on the previous day, the video showed no fewer than three John Müllers buzzing around the office, each busy as a bee. Chatting among each other as they worked, the three were clad in the exact outfits I’d noticed John wearing earlier in the day.
I was shaken. Not knowing what else to do I confronted the “John” currently giving me a talk about spam-fighting and showed him the footage on my phone. Looking utterly crestfallen for an instant, he shortly heaved a sigh of relief, his shoulders slumping.
“In a way I’m glad someone outside Google finally knows my secret.” he stated, looking me square in the eye. “Remember you’re under NDA.” he continued as he turned and left the room. When he returned a few minutes later, he was accompanied by two individuals identical to him. I was speechless, standing there slack-jawed and sharing a meeting room with three John Müllers.
“There are currently seven of us, working in Google offices around the world, with two further Johns operating extrajudicially. It’s complicated.” the original JohnMu¹ explained. Asking me to take a seat at the boardroom table he proceeded to tell the story of how he had arrived at this juncture.
From about 2012 onward, one of him simply wasn’t enough to carry out the growing amount of work he was confronted with on a daily basis, despite his legendary knowledge and efficiency.
Nevertheless, he soldiered on bravely until the situation was further exacerbated by Matt Cutts taking his permanent sabbatical in 2014. At that stage, poor JohnMu was simply no longer able to keep up with the myriad tasks his employers at Google threw at him. At first the company tried to hire extra team members to compensate, but they soon realized that it took five new hires to carry out the same workload John handled daily.
That’s when Google made the controversial decision to bring its X-Labs cloning program into play. Cautious at first, they produced a single clone of John, inserting him into the Mountain View Googleplex so as to gauge his performance and not to cause a disturbance among his fellow Googlers in Zürich. The move was a resounding success, with the new JohnMu being able to carry the same workload as the original one. By the latter part of 2015 Google had rolled out a further two John Müllers, placing them in Dublin and London respectively, and officially assigning them the role of “Google’s Public Face”. They would take turns attending conferences, making informational videos, running webmaster hangouts, gauging new online trends, and all the other duties involved in John’s professional routine.
Disaster almost struck at that point.
During one of his many business trips to antagonize the world’s SEOs, Gary Illyes wandered into Dublinplex unannounced, promptly bumping into “Irish JohnMu” (Codename: Shamrock) within less than three hours of putting “Swiss JohnMu” (Codename: Edelweiss) onto a San Francisco-bound Airbus at Zürich airport. To say that Gary was surprised by this encounter would be a gross understatement. Nevertheless, as all who know Gary well will be aware, he is nothing if not inquisitive, so he decided to take immediate action.
Phoning Mountain View, he asked to be connected with John Müller. The operator, being of course entirely unaware of the situation, duly connected Gary with “Cali John” (Codename: Flowerpower), while Swiss John was still sipping cocktails in the First Class cabin of an A-380 on his way to SFO, and with Irish John still in the same room at Dublinplex.
The jig was up right then and there.
Within the hour an emergency staff meeting had been called by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, to inform all Googlers of “Project Mu’s” existence as an X-Lab Moonshot. From thereon all staff had been contractually bound to treat the company’s cloning program as a trade secret, under threat of “consequences”.
Once again reminding me that I was bound by an NDA, John concluded his account of Project Mu’s history with the strict instruction that I was not even to share this information with my fellow Webmaster Central Top Contributors. In return for my silence I would receive certain “compensations”, to be mutually agreed in a meeting scheduled with Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, later that month.
It’s been well over a year since that fateful day, the burden of which weighs heavily upon me despite the rich “compensations” I received and continue to receive.
In all honesty, like JohnMu was back then, I’m relieved to have finally shared the truth with the world at large.
Google could very easily debunk every single SEO Myth and Kooky Hypothesis as these are published, if only the company devoted a few more John Müllers to the task. Maybe they will do so now, with the cold hard facts of this matter exposed to the light of day. And maybe they will also come clean about the two Extrajudicial Johns currently at large in parts unknown.
You see, the story doesn’t end there…
While cloning John Müller did alleviate Google’s shortfall in expert manhours, the move also brought with it certain financial consequences for the company. For starters, the original John demanded a sky-high raise, shortly followed by the clones doing likewise, reasoning that they were entitled to just as much remuneration as their original. The existence and public movements of seven John Müllers also necessitated the creation of an entirely new “Misinformation Department”. Euphemistically named “The Department of World Peace”, its sole task is to keep the public from discovering the truth about Google’s clones.
This ongoing financial drain on Google’s bottomline prompted its Cybernetics division (formerly Boston Dynamics) to create its own Moonshot project, codenamed “Müminator”, with the goal of producing an artificial Googler capable of carrying the same workload as John Müller, but without the associated living or wage expenses.
The first Müminator prototype was trialled during the latter part of 2016. It went “rogue” immediately due to the design team’s ill-fated decision to install Windows 10 as its Operating System, instead of Android.
Since that time, Müminator has been causing havoc around the globe, always one step ahead of the Department of World Peace due to the Cyborg’s superior intellect and augmented abilities. The situation has become so critical that Google’s Biotech Division has now created a genetically enhanced John Müller whose sole purpose it is to hunt down Müminator.
But that is a tale for another time… if I can evade Google’s hit squads for long enough.
¹ or possibly one of his clones. It was basically impossible to get a close enough look for the Iteration Tattoo behind his ear.