Businesses put a lot of time and effort into their search engine optimization (SEO) campaign with much of the effort put behind where their website ranks in a Google search, but a new project from the search engine, codenamed Caffeine, might change rankings.

On the Google Webmaster Central Blog, staff software engineer Sitaram Iyer and principal engineer Matt Cutts, announced the project and asked web developers to test out a preview of the new infrastructure and give feedback.

Google says people are unlikely to notice anything different in their typical searches at the moment as much of the update is "under the hood," but Search Engine Land’s Vanessa Fox points out that search results using "Caffeine" put more emphasis on universal search.

It is unclear exactly what impact Caffeine will have on search engine optimization (SEO) if and when it goes live, but PC World’s David Coursey says the new project is "potentially a very big deal" for companies that rely on how their website ranks in Google.

Although some have questioned if Caffeine is a direct result of Microsoft’s unveiling of Bing earlier this year, Matt Cutts denied that on his website.

"I love competition in search and want lots of it, but this change has been in the works for months," wrote Cutts. "I think the best way for Google to do well in search is to continue what we’ve done for the last decade or so: focus relentlessly on pushing our search quality forward."