In an effort to make the web a bit safer, Google Search will give a small promotion to sites that use encryption (HTTPS) over those that don’t. Google has added a signal for encryption to its algorithm that determines what you see when you search for a topic.
In a blog post, Google said the signal ranking percentage—how much weight encryption will carry into the decision making process of what sites show up in your search—is low, affecting fewer than one percent of global searches, to give sites time to make the switch to HTTPS.
Google did say that over time it may “decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
Response to the changes have been largely positive, as the industry has taken security more seriously in the wake of the Snowden leaks and revelations of widespread spying and hacking. Employing encryption on larger sites can be a cumbersome process, but the current climate has justified the need for these changes, with little backlash.
Google has been following its own advice, as it has encrypted its own services, including Search, Drive, and Gmail. “We would very much like to see forward secrecy become the norm and hope that our deployment serves as a demonstration of the practicality of that vision,” the company stated.