The Canonical URL issue that is talked about a lot lately since even Google itself it has a huge impact on the search engine ranking of your web page is all about defining one page and one URL of your web site to help the search engines define what the real Home of your web site is, and pass on all the links to any other pages to this one Home page.
Matt wrote about it even back in 2006 here: SEO advice: url canonicalization
Some people got it, some did not. Some people take advantage of it and some do not. IT’s a bit like saying:
Some companies care about their ranking in Google and some not.
There is one domain (company) that actually took the canonical URL issue to the whole new level. What they have done is they have created two completely different web sites that show in the two versions of their URL. When the domain is accessed with a domain name that contains the ‘www’ part in it –one site shows up, and the same domain name without the ‘www’ part of the address shows a completely different web site.
At first it looked like a mistake made on the web server configuration, but contacting the company in question revealed that that was actually done intentionally.
An interesting and original approach to URL canonicalization. I do not remember anyone ever trying anything similar jet. Could they be on to something? It is clear that both versions of the web site will dilute the value the Google assigns. The Google Page Rank (PR) will be lower on both sites than it would be if one site would have been redirected to the other. The search engine ranking of both versions will again be lower than if the redirection was in place. Also by having the completely different content and the code on the two versions of the site, Google will have to index and therefore rank them completely independently.
There are no obvious benefits of doing splitting your web site into the two different versions. On the other implementing the two versions of the web site will definitely hurt your Google rankings.
The user / visitor of the site will also get extremely surprised with the two so different versions on the web site. Different company name, address, email, phone, fax number and everything really. It does really look like another company. It is only the call to their IT department that assured of their intentional ‘splitting’ of the domain name, and creation of the canonical URL.