Repairman Accidentally Beats Google At Own Game


Search for “Google” on Google and you’d expect to get Google. But an Egyptian air conditioning engineer found himself number one for that very search, having unintentionally found a killer search engine optimization trick.

The unexpected result only affected searches on Google’s Egyptian site ( but appeared even for users of Incognito mode, meaning the rankings weren’t affected by personal search history and web use. The results appear to have been the same on desktop and mobile.

Instead of the search engine itself, the number one ranking was for the Google+ page for Saber El-Toony, a repairman for a company dealing in refrigeration and air conditioning. The same page appeared at number two if you searched using the Arabic script that translates to “Google.”

Egyptian online marketer Eyad Nour heard about the quirk and investigated. He found that the Google+ page had 3.5 million views, which rose by 86,000 in the space of 45 minutes. That’s more likely a testament to the sheer number of people who use Google (multiplied by the presumably tiny percentage who’d intentionally or accidentally search for “Google”) than it is a sign of El-Toony’s personal popularity.

Nour tried to figure out what was causing the ranking given that Google being number one for “Google” seems like it should be the purest baseline for the Google algorithm.

The most credible explanation is what El-Toony had typed in the field for his personal website address on his Google+ linking. Presumably by accident he had somehow cut and paste the url that’s produced when your search Google for his Twitter username.

It appears that somehow Google’s algorithm had decided that a Google+ page linking to a “personal website” that appeared to be hosted at Google made Google squared or, another way, made a result that was more Google than Google.

A Google employee speaking in a personal capacity has now told Nour that the quirky result was down to “an experimental algorithm that [went] wrong.”