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How SEO Avoids Website Prosopagnosia and Makes Your Site Memorable

Jan 13, 2011 / by Preston Van Dyke

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?

Topics: SEO Blog Conversion Optimization

Preston Van Dyke

Written by Preston Van Dyke

Preston's addictions include SEO, Web Development, Diet Coke and Online TV.

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