It’s a typical day: you start the search engine of your choice, enter a query that interests you, then click on a link that looks promising. In fact, it’s not very helpful, so you hit the back button to see more search results. But the back button does nothing. You try again: nothing. This website tricked you into inexplicably forcing you to stay on the page or close the tab altogether. However, you are not really trappedscape is at your fingertips.
Although the Internet is no longer the Wild West it used to be, there are still many shady websites that use questionable tactics to keep you engaged with their content. “Trapping” yourself is one of the most aggressive strategies you will encounter, a practice that Google calls “manipulation of history”: JThe website in question will spam your search history with links redirecting to their page, which renders the back button useless. For you, your last visited site should be your search results for, say, Google or Ecosia. However, due to history manipulation, your web browser thinks it should return to the page you are already on.
While the natural instinct here is to just close the browser tab or window, it’s annoying. You shouldn’t have to open a whole new window and enter the same search as before, all because a vulture wants to keep you on their site for a second longer than you normally would. Luckily, you don’t have to do this at all: rather than hitting the back button in vain, you just need to hold the button down instead.
Whether you’re using Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, on your smartphone or computer, hold down the back button to view that particular tab or window’s search history. You can select any link in the list to return to this site, even if it was not the last site visited in this window. If you’re on a site that implements history manipulation, you might see some creepy links here, or you might see the website in question listed over and over again.
Please watch or scroll through these options until you find the search results page, or any page you prefer to visit, select it and you will instantly escape your internet sensor. Make a mental note to never visit their site again and feel free to warn others not to visit this waste of digital space.
Supposedly, Google has been working on fixing this problem for a while now, but obviously the problem still exists. That said, if you’re using Chrome on a desktop computer, you should never be tricked by any of these crummy websites. Instead of using the browser as is, you should enable its hidden search panel, which allows you to view your search results without ever leaving the original search page. Check our complete guide to learn more.