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Google's HTTPS Search Algorithm Update, Keeping User Data Safe

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Hackers. Stolen passwords. Money taken. Identity theft. Crashed websites.

Shall I go on? Web security, if you can't tell, is increasingly critical. And now Google says so, too.

The search giant will begin factoring a site's security in its site-ranking algorithm. In other words, if your site doesn't utilize the HTTPS secure, encrypted connection, then your site could turn up further down in Google's search results pages.

It's worth noting that Google is calling this a "lightweight" ranking signal right now, meaning that it's affecting fewer than 1 percent of queries worldwide. Publishing high-quality content is a more important signal to Google's algorithm.

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"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," Google Webmaster Trends Analysts Zineb Ait Bahajji and Gary Illyes wrote in a post announcing the change. Additionally, they offered tips for how you can adopt the encrypted HTTPS connection.

Google talked about security and HTTPS at its Google I/O developer's conference earlier this summer. Here's the video:

Google has also enhanced encryption for Gmail in an effort to protect emails sent on the service from spying eyes -- namely the NSA. More recently, tech rival Yahoo said it was joining Google's initiative for more secure, hack-proof emails.

Related: Google Unveils Project Zero, an Elite Cybersecurity Squad to Fight Hackers

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