What is a Google listing?
Through their free product, Google My Business, Google provides a listing where you can provide details about your business to web searchers. If this is new to you, it is best to consider your Google My Business listing as an additional website about your business. You have some control over the information that is presented to search users.
Why it is important:
When a user performs a search that relates to a business like yours, Google presents these business listings on the search results page. Depending on the search, the listings are often displayed above the blue links that navigate to your website. Check out this search results page for accounting help:
Here's another graphic to explain where your potential customer encounters your Google listing. Bonus points if you take notice that the search user has a mobile device in their hand!
This is Google's party and your business is just a guest. As long as people are using Google you need to show up to the party looking your best. This means getting control of your Google listing and understanding how your customers are interacting with it.
Much more to come on this page. For now, here are some relevant blog posts.