In January of this year (2017), Google began their journey to change how Chrome recognizes website security and followed up in April reminding everyone about their eventual plans. But if we rewind the clock, Google started their campaign for a safer web back in 2014 by favoring secure websites.
What does this mean for your career website?
Your typical website is most commonly accessed in two ways: HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP is the standard and default form used when accessing websites. HTTPS adds an additional layer of security by encrypting in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and sharing a key with your browser and the server, thereby making your website much more difficult to hack. Essentially, this is the digital TSA for your website.
Now, it used to be that if your website didn’t pass any personal information, HTTP access was perfectly fine, and if you were sharing sensitive information like a credit card or social security number, then HTTPS was the way to go. Times have changed. Regardless of your website’s purpose or the information shared, there are now real benefits to switching over to HTTPS that can make a significant impact.
Many career websites separate the content from the application, and in most cases your applicant tracking system has held the responsibility for maintaining personal security. However, with Google cracking down on HTTP, any website with a search field or form entry is on the hook for optimized security, and in the not-so-distant future, all non-HTTPS websites will get the scarlet “Not secure” badge. Accessing through HTTPS gives your website the warm and fuzzy “lock” icon with the accompanying label of “Secure.”
Most candidates don’t know the difference between the brochure side of your website and the application side, and as we continue to close user experience gaps, it’s become much harder to decipher. Thus, seeing the “Not secure” label may cause concern for candidates when running a search on your website before they choose to click “Apply.”
A simple search will red-flag your HTTP website
HTTPS is just plain faster — like 80% faster. You can see for yourself by running the simple test provided by HTTP vs. HTTPS.
HTTP vs HTTPS test
I’ll spare you the technology details and give you the shortened version of the explanation. HTTPS allows you to use the HTTP/2 protocol which is a much more efficient way of transferring your website data, while HTTP-only has cross-browser support for HTTP/1.1, which is not as efficient. It’s hard to simplify the concept, but hopefully the following picture illustrates my point.
HTTP2 = More Efficient
As I mentioned earlier, back in 2014 Google tried to persuade webmasters to switch to HTTPS by giving it a stronger ranking signal as motivation. Google literally said they would give preference to sites with a secure cert. Since then, HTTPS sites have seen a definite boost over HTTP sites. Now, Google is upping the ante and forcing the issue. Instead of incentivizing HTTPS, Google may even penalize HTTP sites, similar to what happened with #mobilegeddon and mobile-first indexing. As of late June 2016, tracking data shows that 32.5% (almost one-third) of page-1 Google results now use the HTTPS protocol. Bottom line: switching to HTTPS will show a marginal boost, and future-proof your website rankings.
So when should you switch over to HTTPS?
Check out this final note from Google’s latest blog on the topic to help answer that question:
“Eventually, we plan to show the “Not secure” warning for all HTTP pages, even outside Incognito mode. We will publish updates as we approach future releases, but don’t wait to get started moving to HTTPS! HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it enables both the best performance the web offers and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. Check out our set-up guides to get started.”
Who is this guy?
Practicing design since 2001 and ever-learning. Brandon is currently the director of digital and creative services for CKR Interactive, one of the nation’s largest employment marketing agencies, and has been a part of the organization since 2007. Brandon is responsible for providing leadership, innovative and strategic solutions to meet the needs of a diverse industry clientele.
Before working at CKR Interactive, Brandon held a position as multimedia designer at Motorola Mobility (Formerly Netopia, Inc.) and led the design team for website fulfillment for their partner network. He was also instrumental in the enhancement and creative development of their proprietary web development platform NXG™ and was in charge of in-house and partner design team training of the platform and demonstrating product releases.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Brandon is comfortable making the hard decisions. He has a passion for design, and solving interesting problems within a collaborative team environment. Autonomous, competitive, curious and analytical with a tenacious work ethic, he considers the world of design a labor of love.