Should I use “Cincinnati” in a domain name?

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Should I use my city or Cincinnati in a Domain name - the rules of domain name purchases for branding

Picking out a domain name is a challenging task. One of the questions that I often receive about domain names is if the city should be in the domain name? In this example, we want to determine if a business should use Cincinnati in a domain name?

My answer is: it depends.

Table of Contents

Google History With Domain Names

First, let’s talk about some history with domains. Several years ago, it was completely realistic to purchase a domain with some high target keywords, do a few cheap SEO tactics, and rank your website well in a short period of time. So, if I was wanting to rank as the best Cincinnati Chili, I could purchase and rank at the top for Cincinnati Chili. (I know my Cincinnatians love their chili, including myself!) To note, this domain is for sale at the time of publishing (I’m sure for an insane amount of money).

Google got smart (and thankfully so) added more intelligence into the SEO and focused more on the user’s intent. They focused less on the keywords in a domain name and more about the keywords on a page and the value the content is for a reader. There may be some boost to those keywords in the domain name but it is extremely small. It is better to focus on the brand rather than keywords with a domain.


Cybersquatting on Keyword Domain Names

What about forwarding high-value keyword domains to your branded domain or cybersquatting on keyword domain names?

Unless there is a lot of natural traffic with the high-value keyword domain from people naturally entering it to search, I recommend spending your money elsewhere. I’ve seen clients purchase 10-15 domains to forward keyword domains to their branded domain. These keywords often target cities with high searched terms. This strategy is not necessary. It is an old strategy that someone I’m sure listed somewhere on the internet. A time better well spent is focusing on putting keywords on the web pages of your website.


Additional Reasons Not To Use the City Name in a Domain Name

What are the other reasons for not using Cincinnati in a domain name?

  • The word is often misspelled by people not from Cincinnati
  • It’s can possibly become really long once you add other keywords


Wise Domain Name Purchases

Purchasing common misspellings of your domain name is a better tactic. Other tactics involve purchasing domain names that you want to use as landing pages or treating your given name as a brand and purchasing the corresponding domain name. If you think you will use the domain name in the future, I suggest purchasing it now.

Additionally, purchasing the “.co,” “.us,” “.org,” “.io,” and “.net” is a valuable strategy to prevent brand confusion.   You want your audience to know that they have landed on the correct URL for your brand.


Cincinnati Is Part Of The Brand

What if Cincinnati is part of my Brand name? Some good examples of this are the online store or the well-known baseball team Absolutely, yes you should use Cincinnati as part of your website name. In these examples, it is part of the brand name.


Other Aspects To Consider

What other aspects should I consider for my domain name? There are many things to consider to find the perfect domain name and I’ve included them in a separate article: How To Choose The Best Domain Name For Your Website. I’ve included many resources and considerations to help you think through your decision about choosing the best domain name. Many times choosing a domain name that is available is the easiest and best choice.


Where To Purchase A Domain Name

Where should I purchase a domain name? There are many domain registrars available to purchase domains from. My personal favorites are Google and GoDaddy. GoDaddy has the best search tool to search for domains. Google, the king of search engines, makes it easy to manage your domains on their platform and share it with your web designer and developer.  Both are great choices to purchase and manage your domains.



In conclusion, I recommend not using a city in your domain name, such as “Cincinnati” unless the city is part of your brand name. I hope this has been helpful and that you will consider using a domain name that is less city-specific. We’ve seen firsthand how branding can help drive more traffic, especially for small businesses.

Jessica Rhoades

Jessica Rhoades

Jessica Rhoades is the Owner and Designer at Create IT Web Designs. Among her greatest passions are web design, SEO, helping small businesses succeed, bicycling, traveling, and making lists.

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