Google has begun using HTTPS as a signal in its search engine's ranking algorithm.

The new ranking qualifier will give sites using Transport Layer Security (TLS) higher priority compared to sites that have not yet integrated it, according to a Google blog post. The company has experimented with the new ranking system and says that for now it will only affect fewer than one percent of global queries.

The search engine's other signals, such as high-quality content, will be weighted more heavily in the algorithm. However, Google warned that it could change the rankings over time in an effort to encourage website owners to switch to HTTPS.

Google integrated secure sockets layer (SSL) security for all searches in 2013.