As web hacks get bigger and scarier, there’s an increasing sense of urgency for websites to implement tight security measures. To encourage this trend, Google Search will begin favoring encrypted Web pages in its ranking algorithm. The company hopes it will create an extra incentive to keep user data safe.
In a blog post, Google explains how the transition will go down:
We’re starting to use 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 … while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. 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.
Sites tend to be reluctant to implement encryption because it can be expensive and cause slower page response times. But with big players like Google serving encrypted pages at reasonable speeds, that point is becoming less of a concern. If all of the sites you visit regularly were offering an extra layer of protection, you wouldn’t have to worry as much about leaking data while on wi-fi networks, especially public ones.