Does Google Maps have a sandbox?

Almost 6 months ago I was requested by a local client to get them listed (or rather improve their listings) in Google Maps and Yahoo local.

I made a series of changes to the listing, helped them get their reviews improved, modified their business categories. On Yahoo the results showed up within a week.

On Google however the local listing was mired on page two and despite many of the same changes, didn’t go anywhere. This past Sunday, the listing has moved to the number one spot on the Google search page.

Google Map results for theBeefeatersRestaurant.com

This raises several questions but the obvious one is: Does Google Maps have a Sandbox?

It would seem likely that they do. But the question that I have is: Is this just a function of their data update cycle or is it a more formal protocol that they follow.

Over the 6 month period, I had noticed that the reviews from citysearch.com that seemed to influence the standing on this listing were updated on Google. Now the aggregate star rating has been updated although Google Maps still quotes an older 3 star star review.

Local Search

I have been working on Google and Yahoo local search optimization for awhile. It is an area that while not earth shattering in terms of traffic that they have generated it became clear to me that the importance to Google and Yahoo and the client was increasing and it would be a benefit to understand more about it.

I searched the internet for technical and practical knowledge on Google Maps and Yahoo Local and while there were posts from time to time at a number of sites, none seemed to provide a single place to obtain comprehensive and current information or a place where experiments in techniques could be hashed out and discussed.

If you have an interest in this topic and have some experience I hope that you will take the time to share it so that the general state of knowledge about search optimization for Google and Yahoo local can move forward.

Developing Knowledge about Local Search