"What do you do when you're building a website or doing SEO for a local business and your keyword research shows zero searches for what the service does or sells?" Ellis says. "This is a dilemma we struggle with and, in such cases, it's been our custom to optimize for whatever we discover to be popular broad searches plus the location, but at the end of doing this, it feels like you've not developed a very strong strategy."
So readers chimed in with suggestions, including using a local demographic info comparison tool like ZipSkinny.com, to find cities with similar population breakdowns (age, sex, median income, etc.). Then you can use that city to run the original search on WordTracker or KeywordDiscover--with the idea being that targeting a city with a similar population may yield effective keywords for your own.