Greg Linden uncovers a potential new Google Maps ranking signal: direction requests:
…certain very large search engines have massive logs of people asking for directions from A to B, hundreds of millions of people and billions of A to B queries. And, it appears this data may be as or more useful than user reviews of businesses and maybe GPS trails for local search ranking, recommending nearby places, and perhaps local and personalized deals and advertising.
Geeky paper on the subject here.
According to Greg this signal is not part of the algo at the moment. Not sure how valuable this signal would be in cities like New York where you don’t have to drive. And it would only apply to categories that have locations that are destinations like museums, restaurants and brothels – sorry locksmiths.