I was looking through Google Analytics to see how people found my site. I was checking out one of the queries when I noticed a weird behavior with regards to my blog title, Thu’s Blog. Basically, my blog did not rank for [thu's blog]. There were blogs that linked to my blog that were ranking for the query! My blog did rank for [thu blog] so it wasn’t being penalized. Looking at how Google bolded the queries in the title, I was able to narrow it down to a seemingly harmless character, the apostrophe.
It turns out that WordPress converts a straight apostrophe to a curly quote. Apparently, Google sees them as different characters so it affected my ranking. When people search, they’re going to use a regular apostrophe, not curly as in [thuâ€™s blog].
So I searched around on how to prevent WordPress from converting the apostrophe in my blog title.
I found the hint here.
Specifically, open up wp-includes/default-filters.php. Then comment out the following line:
Three days after making the change, my blog is ranking #1 for [thu's blog] in Google. Yay! I think this shows that I wasn’t being delusional/egotistical in believing my blog should at least rank above the sites that link to it.
When I upgraded to WP 2.1, the above change was overwritten and I didn’t bother to re-apply it. It hasn’t hurt since Google seems to handle it better now.