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BizReport : Search Marketing : August 12, 2014

Google using HTTPS as a ranking signal

Google is flexing its search engine muscle in an effort to encourage websites to be more secure. Search algorithms have been tweaked to give sites using HTTPS a higher search ranking.

by Helen Leggatt

In a recent blog post, Google trends analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes outlined what the search engine is doing to ensure a safer Internet. Following a few months of testing, and positive results, the search engine will now begin using HTTPS as a ranking signal.

"For now it's only a very lightweight signal - affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content -while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS," wrote the analysts in a blog post. "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."

Encryption is used to digitally scramble data as it moves between a user's device and an online service. This prevents others, such as hackers, from eavesdropping on the information. HTTPS also makes it harder for data transmitted over unsecure Wi-Fi networks, in homes and in airports and stores, to be hijacked. Sites that use HTTPS (the 'S' stand for 'secure') usually display a padlock in the address bar.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: encryption, Google, online security, search engine, search ranking

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