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Clicking "back" into Google SERPS changes link code for clicked result

10:43 am on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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joined:Feb 25, 2003
votes: 0

This is for Google.co.uk:

If you search for a keyphrase and hover over the links, the web address of the site shows in the status bar. Click on that link, let that page load then click "back" in your browser. When I do that and hover over the link again it has changed to a Google encoded/tracking URL whilst all the other SERP links remain the same. Click on a second link, click back and that link has changed to a tracking link too.

This only happens to me when I'm logged in.


11:19 am on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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joined:Mar 29, 2007
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I am able to see the same links when I click back button, whether i am logged in or out.

I tried it in Mozilla and IE both.

11:26 am on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

joined:Jan 27, 2003
votes: 0

This happens because of a javascript-based tracking script Google use to monitor where you click in results. the link destination gets changed onclick, so when you return to the page, you see the destination that Google changed the link to, as opposed to the direct link that was originally on the page.

They do this with an inline javascript that detects onmousedown events.