Google might tweak its search algorithm to favor websites that use encryption, a step that would result in safer websites appearing higher in search results, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Matt Cutts, who is in charge of liaising with website designers and quality control for the company’s search results, said that the step would make it harder for third parties to spy on web users. He was speaking at the SMX West conference in San Jose.

Ironically, the news comes at a time when the Internet is still grappling with Heartbleed, a major bug in the popular software encryption library OpenSSL.

While the move sounds good on paper, Danny Sullivan, founding editor of the Search Engine Land blog and host of the conference, argues it might not fly with Google because it may result in an immediate change by the websites that focus on search results rather than developing good content.

A Google spokesman said the company has nothing to announce at this time.

As of now, websites that implement encryption can encounter difficulties with Google, as it requires a small change in the site’s URL, according to an IBTimes report. Those websites which don't properly redirect users from an unsecure URL to a secure one, can rank lower in search results, the report notes.