It has always been the mantra of successful Internet marketing: Content is King. If you create better content, people will naturally bookmark your site, link to it and tell their friends to do the same.
Recently this has become even more true. Search engines started looking at specific site metrics to help them identify good sites. Bounce rate, for example. Bounce rate refers to the number of people who visit only one page on your site, then hit the back button. If the bounce rate is high then that is a clear indication that your human visitors are not happy with what they find on your site. Nothing there that makes them want to stick around or click something.
And presto… Graphic design makes it’s entry into search engine marketing. A breathtakingly beautiful site will have a much lower bounce rate than one that looks like it was chewed by a camel – all other factors being the same. Pretty graphics = more traffic.