It's easy to forget that there was a time without the Internet. However, it's important to remember that the Internet, search engines, and social media have all evolved to connect people like never before. When you cut through to the core philosophy of what search engines are really trying to do, it becomes apparent that your reputation building efforts offline have a huge impact on your online visibility.
Search engines need to provide useful results to their users (except arguably for Google who has now become the interchangeable term for search). Therefore, they are in a constant struggle to identify the most relevant, trusted, and authoritative results for any particular topic online. However, relevance, trust, and authority can also be established offline, and in fact, can have more significant impact on your web presence than your online activities. Here are a couple of examples:
You attend, sponsor, or speak at, a seminar or other legal organization event. The organization has a website. They have a page that lists sponsors and speakers with links to the sponsors' websites.
You are interviewed by a local news source. The article includes a link back to your website.
You win a high-profile case. Reporters cover it. They link back to your website.
These are just a couple of examples of how your activities offline can have a significant impact on your online presence. Links generated from these activities are often the most powerful. Needless to say, they are also often more difficult to acquire. Links of this nature take nurturing. Contacts need to be established, anchor text optimized, and follow-ups pursued. This can become a very time-consuming process. However, investing time (or hiring someone to manage your web strategy) in these efforts can be some of the best investments you can make in terms of increasing your visibility online.