Many people only ever focus on link strategies and keywords when they talk about search engine optimisation. There are so many elements to what makes a full campaign work. Often people only think that the design of the site is the pretty bit at the front. People should not be so quick to judge. Having a site that is engaging and well designed can be as influential as the content, keywords and links it can establish.
Google looks at how people interact with websites and how long they stay. If people leave your site straight away once arriving (this is know as the Bounce Rate) it means they are not happy with the results they have found. Google has its place within the market by delivering relevant, interesting content and results. To sum up, search engines want good search results, they move sites with low bounce rates up and sites with high bounce rates down. Users are far more likely to stay on your site and look around if it looks good. This will then in turn have a positive effect on your search position.