Been dragging your feet on security measures for your website?

Now may be the time to get serious about security. In a recent announcement at its own site (a much-discussed post that now boasts more than a thousand reader comments), Google revealed it will begin using website encryption, or HTTPS, as a ranking signal.

According to TechCrunch, this development “should prompt website developers who have dragged their heels on increased security measures, or who debated whether their website was “important” enough to require encryption, to make a change.”

According to Google, HTTPS will only be a lightweight signal in its initial implementation, affecting fewer than 1 percent of global queries.

“That means that the new signal won’t carry as much weight as other factors, including the quality of the content, the search giant noted, as Google means to give webmasters time to make the switch to HTTPS. Over time, however, encryption’s effect on search ranking may strengthen, as the company places more importance on website security,” says TechCrunch.

Google has promised to publish a series of best practices around TLS (HTTPS, is also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) to help website developers comprehend what’s needed to upgrade their sites and how to avoid potentially costly mistakes.

“These tips will include things like what certificate type is needed, how to use relative URLs for resources on the same secure domain, best practices around allowing for site indexing, and more,” the report concludes.

The move to encryption is a natural, following on the heels of recent revelations that agencies like the NSA have been eavesdropping with impunity. Now, more and more companies are increasing their security measures — in part, no doubt, to allay user concerns and protect their own brands.