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Google: Switch to HTTPS and we'll rank you higher in search results

Search engine to award encrypted websites
Thu Aug 07 2014, 13:45
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GOOGLE IS OFFERING the incentive of higher ranking in its search results to websites that use HTTPS encryption.

In a bid to promote better security across the net and circumvent potential data surveillance, the search engine said that it wants to encourage HTTPS encryption across the industry and will attempt to boost the use of it by rewarding adopters with more traffic.

HTTPS refers to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network. Employing HTTPS is thought to prevent wiretapping and man in the middle cyber attacks.

Google added the security layer to its social network, email and storage options earlier this year to show how confident it is in the technology.

"Beyond our own stuff, we're also working to make the internet safer more broadly. A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure. For instance, we have created resources to help webmasters prevent and fix security breaches on their sites," the internet giant said in a blog post.

"We've also seen more and more webmasters adopting HTTPS on their website[s], which is encouraging. For these reasons, over the past few months we've been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search-ranking algorithms."

Google said it has seen positive results in its tests and so has started using HTTPS as a ranking signal.

At present not much weight is being put on the use of encryption, but Google said that it will consider increasing this. "For now it's only a very lightweight signal - affecting fewer than one percent of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content - while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS," it added.

"But over time, we 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."

In April, Google announced that it improved HTTPS connections in Chrome for Android, making it three times faster and stronger against future security vulnerabilities like Heartbleed. µ


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