It has been a long time tactic to find some strong keywords that relate to a client and have them support the outreach buy attaching those keywords to the cities they want to target. I have recently have had great success with a company that did not do any local SEO other than citations and left their content to just be either not optimized at all or just more of a national approach with no geo centric approach.
I knew they had about 4 main services that they offered in the IT / Cybersecurity space and wanted to have much more exposure to the surrounding cities they serve. Though there are many good tools out there I love to use Google Trends to help me start my search and then from there I move over to WordTracker. This allows me to see the area where the words may be stronger and then checking the normal volume, KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index), ect. From there I started with the most top level topic or service and built out a page that could act almost like a landing page for all the services for each city. With in one week we already started seeing some traction. Now the goal is to build out each Service + City to drive the rest of the traffic.
Reality Of The Outcome
There is so much to SEO in terms of properly optimizing a page with (linking, solid call to action, internal linking, and meta-data). What I saw from this particular client is that with the basics and a solid strategy you can get search success without any fancy tricks. I have used this time and time again but it still amazes me how well it works.