This summer, Google replaced the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator with the Keyword Planner. There are still ongoing changes and usability improvements altering the interface and reliability of the results obtained. But this tool offers some needed granularity for proper local keyword research.
While the index for the Keyword Planner seems somewhat incomplete when compared to the much older and more polished Keyword Tool, the ability to measure search volume at the regional level is long overdue. Some of the key advantages for the new Keyword Planner include:
The ability to identify search volume at the country, province/state and city level
The ability to use multiple keyword lists
Similar to Google Analytics: your settings are saved until you change them, even when you log out
The Keyword Planner will undoubtedly see several modifications over the next year as Google attempts to extend its reach in PPC for local businesses. Check out the video for a brief walkthrough of the Keyword Planner tool with a local example.