When disavowing links, many webmasters go and disavow every link they have that could possibly be considered an invalid link in the eyes of Google. For sites that have been the target of massive negative SEO campaigns or the victim of over-zealous link builders, lists can get pretty huge. But now it seems that you might want to keep that list shorter.
In a Google Webmaster Office Hours, the question was raised about how long it takes for links in a disavow to be processed and reflected in an update or refresh. And the answer probably wasn’t what many want to hear, especially those who are attempting to clean up a huge number of links.
Yes, definitely. So this is something where depending on the URL sometimes we crawl them daily, sometimes we crawl them every couple of months. So if you submit a large disavow file or a disavow file that includes a lot of domain entries or just generally includes a lot of different URLs, then that is something that’s going to take quite a bit of time to kind of recrawl all of those URLs naturally and reprocess all of that information.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if you are looking at a time frame of maybe 3 to 6 to 9 months even for disavow files to be completely taken into account.
And that is not something that happens from one day to the next, this is a granular process that happens step by step. So as individual URLs are recrawled and we see them in the disavow file, that will be taken into account. So it’s not that you have to wait this long for them to be reflected, it’s just that for everything to be recrawled and reprocessed it can take a significant amount of time.
Of course, this does raise the question of where is the happy medium between disavowing enough links to lift the penalty (or prevent one) versus having a large enough file that it could take many months to complete. While getting the links removed is always the best route to go, many webmasters don’t respond to removal requests or don’t want to pay the “removal fee” to get it removed.
It also reconfirms that Google doesn’t explicitly recrawl links that are included in a disavow file – something that has concerned webmasters whose sites might be included in a list – but rather simply continue crawling those sites on their own schedule.
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