Google Inc said it is encouraging website developers to make their sites secure for visitors by using site encryption as one of the factors to determine search ranking.
The company is urging website developers to adopt HTTPS, a form of website encryption that secures data send over the web, to protect user data from hackers.
"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," the world's No. 1 search engine operator said on a blog post on Wednesday.
Developers compete fiercely with each other and tweak every small aspect of their websites to get a top search ranking. With Google making web encryption a factor in ranking, many would likely make their websites more secure for visitors.
"Without knowing about the technical details behind this move; as a principle I find it excellent," a user commented on the blog post.
The security of a website will carry less weight in ranking compared with other factors such as high-quality content, but its importance might increase over time, Google said.
"We hope to see more websites using HTTPS in the future," it said.