Google has confirmed that it will use encryption as a ranking signal, a clear sign that it is taking privacy and user security very seriously.
In a post on its Webmaster Central blog, Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes, both Webmaster trends analysts, confirmed it will take encryption (or the lack of) as a factor to rank sites globally.
For now, they add, it's a very lightweight signal affecting less than 1% of global queries and carries less weight than other signals - such as quality of content and authority.
Over time though, they added, "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".
Google suggests moving to a 2048-bit key certificate which, according to experts, won't be breakable for a foreseeable future. Also on the list are suggestions to remove any obstacles that could prevent spiders from crawling your site and removing NOINDEX where possible.
Implementing encryption as default for most websites is likely to be a long-winded process that will require a lot of human resources and financial capital.
Perhaps more importantly, it will force anyone who deals with an online property to have a serious look at security across the board or risk the wrath of Google.