Google will examine what it can do to prevent the technique of 'cloaking' in 2011, a practice that offers differing results to users and search engines, according to the company's Matt Cutts.

According to Search Engine Land's Barry Schwartz, Mr Cutts announced on his Twitter page that the company would seek to address the issue in the first quarter of next year.

Using the practice as part of an online marketing services strategy is against Google's webmaster guidelines and could lead to a site being removed from the firm's index, Mr Schwartz pointed out.

He added that it is difficult to tell exactly what Mr Cutts meant from his brief message, but cautioned any companies that currently use the technique they "may have to be on the look out".

Earlier this month, Google also announced it had made changes to its algorithm to combat negative search engine optimisation techniques, following a New York Times report on a company that deliberately used bad publicity to boost its rankings on the site.

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