Yahoo search result – CCC in front of page titles

In Yahoo’s search result some of our page titles were being prefixed the “C C C” which, of course, was really weird.

Search results from Yahoo showing “C C C” in front of page titles.

Charlie figured this one out.

My money was on some corrupt HTML tag that was trying to set a color to hex #CCC but that wasn’t right. Let me show you a picture of the top nav and see if you can guess.

Single element from a website primary navigation. The word "HOME" appears below three white stars.

Any guesses?

When this site was created around 2010 the designer used images to create the top nav. So the literal word “home” wasn’t in the nav, it was just a JPEG with “home” written in it and three stars above it. (Of course there were rollover versions, too).

When we refreshed the site in 2014 we (me) turned the top nav into a unordered list against a background gradient and we (I) used a custom webfont for the stars.

Any guesses now?

The stars used a web font that mapped to the ASCII character upper case English “C”. The actual code was:

wp_nav_menu(
                array(
                        'theme_location' => 'main-nav',
                        'menu_class' => 'nav-menu',
                        'link_before' => '<span class="stars"><span class="star small">C</span><span class="star large">C</span><span class="star small">C</span></span><br />'
                    )
        );

In my defense, I didn’t use a custom font which would have, unless overridden, mapped to private-use areas of the Unicode planes. This was Linotype’s European Pi font which is a “symbol” font similar to Wingdings which did this on purpose for historical reasons.