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Google Algorithm Tweak Aims to Make the Web Safer

Google will favor encrypted websites in search results.

Google Algorithm Tweak Aims to Make the Web Safer

[Image: Flickr user m.a.r.c.]

Google announced Wednesday it will begin to favor encrypted websites in its search results to encourage increased security across the web. Encryption can help keep user data safe from hackers.

Google hopes giving sites with HTTPS (also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) preference in its algorithm will be an incentive for web administrators to increase their site’s security. Google has already upgraded many of its own products to secure connections, including Search, Gmail, and Google Drive.

For now, Google says this will affect fewer than one percent of all searches, and that its algorithm favors high-quality content over encryption. "But over time," Google says, "we may decide to strengthen [the weight of encryption in our algorithm], because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web."

Since Google dominates the search engine market, website administrators are constantly looking to increase their SEO and move their site to the top of Google search results. That’s why this one, seemingly small, move by Google could have a large impact on the safety of data across the web.