Webmasters might not have been mistaken in thinking that the search engines and Google in particular were their foes, at least until the last year or two. Although the search engines issued Terms of Service or Guidelines, there was no easy way to check whether your website had been banned from the search engines. It was assumed that such a service might allow determined webmasters in some way to reverse engineer the search engine algorithms and thus make their websites more search engine prominent than they deserved to be. That apparent battle was an unnatural way of doing things. Google only exists because there are websites so it can hardly be in conflict with all the people who created them.
The clearest signal of the new order of things is a post by Matt Cutts, a Googler who has become a privileged Google voice on all matters linked to SEO. This is entitled Notifying Webmasters Of Penalties. He provides an executive summary. Google’s Webspam team is working with the Google Sitemaps team to alert some (but not all) site owners of penalties for their site. The examples he give clearly show that if the offences are relatively minor, then you’ll get a warning. They won’t alert you if the breach of the Guidelines is flagrant and massive.
There are several ways Google is helping webmasters. Google Sitemaps is one of the best. If you’re not using it, go check it out. Your journey will not be wasted. Even if you would never be involved in penalty situations, there’s still a great deal you can learn about your website. You can be sure that Google probably knows something about your website that you don’t. Google Sitemaps is where you’ll find this out.
Related Links: Riding The Internet Tidal Wave – Some of the ways Google is helping webmasters.