I'm sure you've heard of "bugs" in the algorithm (like the recent local SERP shuffling...) but this one takes the cake. Google in Egypt has really goofed it up.
The story was originally published over on Medium by an Egyptian SEO who was baffled to find that an ordinary repairman had unwittingly beat Google at their own game:
This Egyptian HVAC Technician is ranking #1 in organic search results with a Google Places listing that outranks Google’s own knowledge graph snippet. His business name doesn’t even include the keyword nor is it in any way related.
How do you like that? The guy is all over the Egyptian news and - this probably won't surprise you - he's got a mob of people banging down his door to buy his Google+ profile or to teach them how he did it. But he didn't do it on purpose, and he had no idea what all the fuss was about.
The real story is that he probably made a mistake that any of our grandmothers might have when creating his business page - but due to an "experimental algorithm," his mistake made him look like Google's parent company in the SERPs.
The BBC summarizes how he might have done it:
Oliver Ewbank from search engine optimisation firm Koozai told the BBC: "Google Plus profiles tend to rank well in search results, but never on this scale...The main link between this listing and the keyword Google is the fact that Mr El-Toony entered a Google Search for his Twitter handle in the website URL field. This Google URL field seems to have caused the search engine to think the profile is a relevant search result. From Mr El-Toony's perspective, this was a happy accident; for Google this was a mistake. As Google pride themselves on relevance they will want to make sure this does not happen again."
I should say so!