Can asking for backlinks third-party agreements hurt your site rankings?

Published: August 8, 2020

Yes, if you force followed links in third-party agreements and Google finds out, you will end up with a penalty.

According to Google:

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results: […] Requiring a link as part of a Terms of Service, contract, or similar arrangement without allowing a third-party content owner the choice of using nofollow or other method of blocking PageRank, should they wish.” source

Asking for links in such agreements is very common practice with influencers programs. Many retailers (and not only retailers) are asking influencers to link back to their websites, and that is enforced in agreements (either verbally or in written).