For many businesses, being visible in local searches on Google is an important part of their digital strategy. So being sure that your online presence is optimized for local search listings is a must. My recommended first step in local optimization? Set up a Google My Business page.

Google My Business is the latest iteration of Google’s listing management platform for businesses. You may remember past versions, including Google Places, or Google+ for Business. Google being Google, they’ve updated the platform again and have given it a new name, Google My Business.

After verifying ownership of your business, Google My Business allows you to edit and update key components of your business listing. Your contact information, hours, photos, description, and web address are all editable components. Importantly, these are also fields that can affect how Google displays your business in search results.

You’re also able to engage with searchers by responding to Google Reviews directly from your business page. If enabled, you can also live chat with visitors. Engaging with visitors through receiving and responding to reviews has been proven to have a positive impact on SEO.

The final component of Google My Business that I find incredibly valuable for data-driven marketing people, is the Insights tab. Within Insights, you’re able to view metrics that show how Google searchers are finding your business, the days/times they are calling, number of people looking for directions, and the amount of website clicks being referred by the listing.

So what is Google My Business? It’s a must for a business that cares about their local search results. While there are some tools that are optional in the digital marketing space, Google My Business is not one of them.