If you haven’t heard of the Alien Name Syndrome, you’re not alone. It’s a term that was coined by author and content marketing specialist Ann Handley in her book Everybody Writes:
It is an ailment of content marketers who don’t take the time to think about how their metadata will be displayed in search engine results pages (SERPS). The 7 sins are as follows:
Including words that make no sense together
Making your title too long or complex for people to read or understand it on SERPS
Using keywords but forgetting to use them in a natural way so they blend with your message
Omitting necessary information from your title and subtitle, such as what the blog is about
Getting your keywords wrong, like using the word “hotels” instead of “resorts”, even though they’re spelled and spelt differently in English
Focusing too much on SEO without considering your readers or what Google favors
Looking at other people’s metadata to copy it when you should be creating yours from scratch. This leads to an identity crisis for brands as well as customers who can’t tell which site offers better quality content.” -Ann Handley (Everybody Writes)
The title for this post might have been a sin if not taken care of properly: ‘Alien Name Syndrome’. But now that we know how important titles are, I want to explore some ways to create great ones.
The title for this post might have been a sin if not taken care of properly: ‘Alien Name Syndrome’. But now that we know how important titles are, I want to explore some ways to create great ones. It is a well-known fact that you need to create a powerful and compelling title when publishing your work.
It is a well-known fact that you need to create a powerful and compelling title when publishing your work. So, how can we avoid making the seven common mistakes? Let’s take a look at them here:
So, how can we avoid making the seven common mistakes? Let’s take a look at them here: -Looking at other people’s metadata to copy it when you should be creating yours from scratch.” “This leads to an identity crisis for brands as well as customers who can’t tell which site offers better quality content” (Handley). You may turn off readers because they don’t know what it is you have to offer.
Attempting to use a simple formula or an “algorithm” that will help generate the perfect name for your blog post, video series, product launch, etc. It is impossible to come up with something this way because every project is different and needs its own individualized strategy (Zemke). Hence why you need a custom plan created specifically for the purpose of naming your work.”
Using cliche words like “ultimate” in the title when it’s really not as ultimate as one thinks. This can lead readers astray especially if they are looking for information on something else entirely.(Kaczynski) You don’t want them going elsewhere before clicking through so make sure you create titles that are specific to what your content is about.
Using vague and unclear words in the title like “stuff” or “things.” If you can’t explain what it is then nobody else will know either (Kaczynski). This causes confusion when readers do not know if they should click on a link because its title doesn’t make any sense, which only wastes their time.(Zemke) The best way to avoid this sin of alien names is to be as clear and concise as possible so that potential customers don’t get hung up with something that’s too difficult for them.
There are seven sins of alien names:
Attempting to use a simple formula or an “algorithm” that will help generate the
First, let’s take a look at the seven sins of alien names. These are some common mistakes that you want to be sure not to make when naming your blog posts:
The first sin is using numbers or dates. The problem with using these identifiers as titles is they don’t provide any context about what the content might cover and can also feel outdated if it references old information. For example, “21 Things You Missed This Week” would be better written as something like “Monday’s Must Reads.”
Secondly, avoid creating clickbait headlines that use words like ‘best’ or ‘worst.’ They’re misleading because readers have no way of knowing whether this applies to their personal experience (which may be different) and are likely to click out of the post when they realize that the title doesn’t actually apply. Instead, a better approach would be something like “The Best Blogs I Read This Week.”
Thirdly, avoid using titles with vague nouns or pronouns such as ‘it,’ ‘them,’ ‘they’ for posts about specific topics. Titles without concrete nouns can leave readers wondering what exactly we’re going to talk about in our blog post. For example, rather than reading “It’s All About Them,” it might make more sense if you name your article after one person who exemplifies this trait instead: “Barack Obama Speaks on What It Means To Be An American”
Fourth sin of alien names: the use of shocking or sensational headlines to grab readers’ attention.
Fifth sin of alien names – too many questions in your title that leave readers wondering what they’re reading about. For example, “What’s Wrong With It?” leaves a lot open for interpretation and doesn’t really tell us anything about what you’ll be talking about in the post. A better approach might be something like “The Best Blogs I Read This Week” which is still descriptive without being overly wordy
Sixth sin of alien names – titles should avoid using phrases such as ‘news’ or ‘you need to know this’. Again, these are vague nouns that don’t offer any concrete information on what we’re going
Giving the alien a human name, such as “Imelda” or “Sally.” This makes it difficult for new readers to mentally map their own knowledge onto the story. What does Sally look like? How is she different from other creatures in this world?
Giving them an overly literal description: Calling something “the metal worm” tells us nothing about what sort of creature we’re dealing with; calling it “The Armored Thorny Beast that Scales Mountains and Inflicts Painful Wounds on its Enemies” only works if your reader already has some context for how thorny beasts operate. Or maybe you can make up a fanciful but evocative title, like The Golden Horned Lizard That Shoots Fire – Introducing them with an explanatory sentence that tells us what they are: If you’re writing a story about fuzzy aliens, it’s tempting to start by saying “The creatures were furry and white.” But this does nothing for anyone who has never seen those words before! Better to use the name of your alien species as early in the text as possible so readers have something concrete to associate with these new terms. For instance, “They came from across space when their home planet was destroyed.” This gives everyone enough information to imagine how these creatures might look and behave without cluttering up the beginning of your story you can introduce more about their appearance later on if necessary. Giving them bland descriptive phrases