After last week’s heartbleed security glitch, Google are casting a serious eye over their security measures.
One of the possible outcomes of their reviews is to slightly alter their search algorithms so that encrypted sites are favoured in search rankings.
Google already uses its algorithms to penalise websites who break Google’s rules, including those who rely heavily on spam, use too many advertisements or have malicious software. Over 200 signals help it determine which sites deserve the highest rankings, and those that should be penalised.
Speaking at the SMX West conference in California, Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, said that encryption was important as it would make it harder for third parties to spy on Internet users: “If a site is hacked” he added, “we do not have the time to hold your hand and walk you through and show you exactly what happened.”
Google itself has been encrypting more and more of its services over recent years, including Gmail and Google Search, and the traffic between its data centres. It did this after discovering that the NSA was exploiting vulnerabilities in Google’s infrastructure.
It is thought that further changes to its algorithms are still in discussion stage, but with Matt Cutts behind the idea it seems likely that it will go ahead. Google have declined to say if any announcements would be made about the decision in the near future.
But if Google goes ahead, it will become even more important for websites to adopt better practises, including the development of quality content.