Many people who have new websites made want to have a nice looking, minimal, designer style to their sites. This is great for a consumer, making it look aethestically pleasing and beautiful, but it is terrible for SEO!
SEO relies on content on a site in order to show Google what the pages are about. If a site has only minimal content and a few nice pictures, Google finds it much harder to rank the site, and get it placed in a decent position on the search results.
Sites which rank highly often have much greater quanities of high quality content. This needs to be easy to read, understandable and well written language which describes the product and service in detail. Although it might not look so great on the eye, the more content on a site, the better the chances of getting rankings up high for the search results!