You could have the greatest website, but if you don’t have control of your Google My Business listing, it could have some unforeseen consequences. For example, the way Google works is that it allows people to add their input by suggesting edits to listings and maps to keep it as up-to-date as possible. The only bad thing about this system is that if you don’t manage your own listing, wrong information could slip through and confuse potential customers about your hours, phone number, or even your address.

So what is Google My Business, and how can it help you get noticed on Google in a crowd of competitors?

1. The Online Equivalent of a Business Card

From your business name, to your address, service area, business hours, phone number, photos, and reviews, this listing will appear during a direct or indirect Google search and is a huge factor in local mobile searches. Typically, this will be the first thing people see when doing a search for your business, which makes it essential to have the correct and accurate information listed there. You can also feature photos of your business to showcase the most important aspects that you want people to see.

2. The Best Platform for Online Reviews

Depending on the number of reviews you have across different review sites—like Yelp, Facebook, Houzz, YellowPages, etc.—Google can choose to feature your overall rating on those platforms. But the most prominently featured (and arguably, most important) reviews they showcase are your Google reviews, based on their five-star rating system. And it’s not just that having honest, positive reviews can build up your brand reputation, or even that it improves your overall ranking in the search engine, but it gives you the space to interact with customers on a transparent level. Responding to your Google reviews, whether positive or negative and in a timely manner, can show that you care about your customers.

3. Simple To Setup

The best part about all of this is that it’s completely free to claim, setup, verify, and manage your business listing on Google. If you haven’t claimed or verified your listing yet, it only takes a few minutes to setup, and within a week you can have it fully verified by Google. Click here for a step-by-step guide to claim and verify your business listing: