For people who make websites, mastering Google's search ranking is important if you want people to see your website. "SEO" (search engine optimisation) is an essential skill for the modern web developer. It is a constant battle too - as Google is constantly tweaking and refining its algorithms... which is why Egypt was surprised to learn that an unassuming air conditioning technician had managed to out-rank Google itself when you search for "Google" or its Arabic equivalent.
The story was uncovered by Eyad Nour, who spotted that Saber El-Toony turned up listed above Google itself - with a link to his Google Plus page. And it raised the question - what sort of witchcraft was he practicing?
Nour carried out an extensive investigation including checking the search results on multiple computers and archiving the search results page every 15 minutes to compare the differences. He even started digging into Google Plus's source code (revealing a "contributes-to" tag, which could have been a clue) and went as far as calling Mr Saber himself. It turned out though that far from being an SEO genius, he too was bemused by his search engine success - apparently he was getting so many calls from the phone number listed that he has to turn his phone off.
So after all of that, the current best hypothesis is linked to the the website listed in Mr Saber's Google Plus profile - rather than put in a website, he put as his URL the Google search results page for his own name, which appears to have short-circuited Google's algorithms and propelled him to the top.
The story has already gone viral in Egypt - with Mr Saber apparently being invited to do TV interviews and becoming a bit of a celebrity, though it looks set to be short lived as a Google engineer has already tweeted Evad to tell him that it was the result of an "experimental" algorithm - and one that will no doubt soon be fixed. [Medium]