By Kate Tummarello - 04/14/14 04:00 PM EDT
Google is considering giving encrypted sites a boost in search result rankings, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The move — which would encourage developers to use encryption — is being pushed by Google executive Matt Cutts, and the company is in the "early" stages of a conversation about rewarding encrypted sites, according to the report.
Currently, Google uses its search engine results to reward or punish sites for certain behaviors, such as demoting sites that contain malware or copyright-infringing content.
Those are some of the more than 200 factors that go into the company's behind-the-scenes ranking of search results.
Google has recently started encrypting more of its services, including Google Search.
The tech industry's push for encryption is fueled in some part by last year's revelation that the U.S. government was spying on unencrypted Internet traffic moving between Google and Yahoo data centers.