How SEO Avoids Website Prosopagnosia and Makes Your Site Memorable

Prosopagnosia. What the heck is that? This is what I found myself asking while listening to a recent Radiolab podcast. Turns out it refers to “facial blindness”—as in you are unable to remember and recognize any one’s face. Every time seeing someone is as if it were the first. How odd would it be to not remember the most distinguishing aspect of a person?

So what does this have to do with SEO? A website needs to make a connection and stick in the minds of those who visit. You don’t want your visitors to come up with a case of “website blindness.” Any customer who remembers your site is more likely to return. After all a return customer is of higher value than a one time customer.

SEO not only provides businesses with the online presence needed to increase in rankings, it also ensures memorability. Let’s take a look at a few ways effective optimization can ensure visitors remember your website.

Relevance = Remember

Have you ever noticed that after talking about a certain subject, the same thing seems to come up more often within a week? Or after you buy a car, the streets seemed filled with the same model? It’s the the top-of-mind effect.

The same thing happens when searching online. When someone can find exactly what they are looking for, they will be much more likely to remember that connection next time. Then your brand becomes top of mind.

Relevance is the bread and butter of SEO. No matter the subject or purpose of your site, the goal is to draw those who are interested in what you have to offer — you need to be relevant to your visitors. When you find a page irrelevant, or even slightly off from your search, odds are it will not be remembered.

SEO can solve this. Keyword Optimization on a page-by-page basis, will ensure the most relevant keywords are serving the right page for the right query. As a result, your visitors will arrive happy, find what they are looking for and remember your website for next time.

Creating Trust = Retention

High rankings inevitably create a sense of trust in businesses. comScore states 39% of searchers assume the higher ranking websites are those leading businesses that can be trusted within the industry. And with trust comes retention. Just think of it, whenever a product is brought up, the companies you remember are likely those considered “leading” the industry.

Search Engine Statistics - ComScore

In this case, as with many others, perception and reality can be two different things. Whether your business is actually one of the industry leaders or a fresh sprouting business your prominence and validation online is perceived not by facts but search results.

Optimizing your website provides a synergistic approach for both scenarios. With a large industry leader it would be very important to maintain that status online. And for the new smaller businesses, there is no better place to become an industry leader online than through the search engines.

Defining Your Brand = Recognition

Your brand is one of your most important tools for securing remembrance. Online, your brand begins with SEO and ends with the product (and your website fits nicely in the middle).

First, SEO will ensure an on-page connection correlating to search terms. Once searchers actually land on your page it is essential to create a definition of two things. First, the overall theme of the site (and your business). Second, the purpose of the specific page they are on. These aspects create a “face” for your site and brand of the business online. Even if you do have Prosopagnosia, this type of face is one everyone can remember.

It is important to remember search engine optimization cannot fully accomplish these two essentials on its own. It will simply set things into swing. The theme, content and graphics within the site play a big role in defining your brand.

Here are few tips to creating your “brand” from a design and content perspective:


No matter how you decide the layout of your site, make sure it stays continuous throughout the website. Changing the layout dramatically from page to page loses that sense of uniformity within the product and business needed to ensure it sticks.


In Words — The way your content is worded sets the tone not only for that page but the overall product and business. Choose your words wisely to ensure they reinforce your brand’s character.

In Graphics — Graphics support the overall message, brings it to life, and provides value to the visitor. Make sure your designers have this in mind. If you find yourself looking at a page with a graphic that seems to be there only because it looks good, ask yourself “What does this bring to life?” or “What content is this image supporting?” and “How is this providing value to the viewer?”


A brand is so much more than a logo. Often success can stand or fall solely on how effective a brand is developed. You need to stand out. If your website looks or feels just like the competition, then is it really memorable? Of course not.

These are just a few aspects that can create an effective brand online. Any others you would like to add to the list?

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  1. Andy Chesnut says

    I could have sworn I’d seen you somewhere before…Great post Preston. Consider this RT’ed. It’s crucial to understand the confidence behind the search experience, and how much the user will trust the results it sees. Now whether that trust comes because of the authority of the results, or because they are tired of trying so many keyword variations to find what they want…that’s a whole different story.

  2. Outsourcing Website says

    SEO is the way of analyzing a website and modifying it to enable search engines to read, understand, and index it correctly.

  3. says

    Thanks for your input guys. Knowing is half the battle. The importance of SEO is far reaching and essential to ensure online success. Whether a business is looking to build a brand and face, increase revenue or leads etc. All will be benefited by SEO.

    • Tucker Stoffers says

      Great article, relating a website to Prosopagnosia is hilarious. Looking at relevance being important right out of the gate, do you feel that you are going to get better retention through a graphic or textual representation above the fold? Or do you have to look beyond first sight?

  4. Donceletta says

    Thanks for creating the picture so clearly of the importance of someone remembering your website very good point.

  5. Leftheris Ioannidis says

    I really like your post. It’s such a good article. Good job.

    If I may, I’d like to give a different and, let’s say a bit more precise, definition of the word “prosopagnosia”. It is actually a greek word.

    The word “Prosopagnosia” is fusion of the words “Prosopo”=Face and “Agnosia”=Ignorance/not in memory. The whole term it refers to the fact that, we see something and next time we see it again we don’t even remember it. There wasn’t anything to stimulate our attention or anything to make it special for our memory. Lack of strong identity.

    Maybe you can examine it also from this perspective.
    I’m interested on the area of branding and marketing and I really found your post very useful.

    • says

      I love the explanation! Especially – “There wasn’t anything to stimulate our attention or anything to make it special for our memory. Lack of strong identity.” This is just the point I was trying to make. What is it that makes you stand out and be retained within the memory of your visitors? Strong brand prominence/awareness is built on relevance to the subject of that product/brand. This really is something SEO achieves for websites.

  6. Jason says

    Prosopagnosia, love it. Outlook has no spelling suggestions for it! The top-of-mind effect is so true. I bought a new car a few years back and knew I was the only person in town with that model car. Wait, there's one… and another?! Now, you asked, so I have to give my 2 cents from running a niche ecommerce store for 10 years. First, SEO is a no-brainer. You're found first and establishes authority to the user right when they're looking to buy, perfect. One prime keyword in position 1 can be worth thousands of dollars. Multiply that a few times and you have yourself a brand new car! But, from a business persons perspective – Step 1. Get a phone number. Step 2. Answer it! I just don't understand how companies make it online without one. Especially if we're talking a higher ticket product/service. If you're asking for my money, you should have a telephone number. Geez, you have to be in the "inner circle" to find amazon's telephone number. If you don't have a phone number, I automatically think you are running your business part time and you'll get to customer service emails once you get home from your day-job. By that time, I've moved on 30 times. Does amazon have a day-job?? Don't get me wrong, everyone starts at the beginning. But usually, if I can't find a telephone number, I'm moving on. Service has to be part of your brand. If you're not there when the phone rings to provide service, customers will create your brand for you.

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