In an attempt to fortify the security of web users, Google may be on the cusp of bumping up websites that use encryption in its search engine results if company software engineer Matt Cutts has his way, according to a Wall Street Journal blog post.

That kind of incentive might go a long way in convincing websites to use encryption, say experts quoted in the blog. Using its much-coveted rankings to hold web developers to best practices is commonplace for Google. The company relies on more than 200 signals to determine search rankings and has, in the past, chastised companies for a variety of practices by moving them down in the rankings.

While Google has not issued an official statement, Cutts, who heads the company’s Webspam team, advocated boosting the rankings of encrypted sites at last month’s SMX West conference.