I'm attending a 3 day training course on business networking this week. It's all about word of mouth business and how you go about creating networks that want to refer business to you.
In the internet world we have an equivalent thing. It's called an incoming link. That's where someone puts a link on their web site to your web site. A simple thing, yet so powerful. Think about it for a minute. That person is willing to have their vistior leave their site and go to your site. They obviously believe that you provide something of value that will be of use to that visitor.
Google pioneered using incoming links as part of their ranking algorithm years ago and it is a big reason that they have grown as big as they have. They essentially leveraged all the research and relationship building that we all have done in our lives and are now sharing through our web sites. An incoming link is a sign of trust and usefulness. That helps Google and other search engines judge the usefulness of your web site.
So as you are networking and building relationships in the real world, do the same on line. It will help your search engine rankings.