Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, you’re probably aware of Google’s latest Penguin update which rolled out last month.

Dubbed Penguin 3.0, it was initially thought that this would be a very large update given the year of waiting between this rollout and the last, but it the end, it wasn’t even close surprisingly.

According to MozCast who track thousands of keywords across multiple SERPs and look for irregular search movements, this update made little to no impact on the sites they’re tracking. Algoroo, on the other hand, seemed to capture the true extent of this Penguin update, something reflected in the SERPs which I actively keep an eye on. I’m quite surprised that the guys at Moz saw little search activity.

Okay, so 3 things you may not know about Google’s Penguin updates…

1) Recovery isn’t Easy

That’s right – unbelievable, but unfortunately very true.

If you were hit last October when the last version of Penguin was rolled out, you may have seen your site recover following Penguin 3.0. Unfortunately, this is the only time you can recover – something Google’s John Mueller says they (Google) need to work on as it’s frustrating for Webmasters who put in the work to clean up their sites.

A fresh start may be best. Not everyone can, but those who are able to easily re-launch on a new domain may be better off doing so as the wait will be very painful.

2) It’s a Manual Update / Refresh

Unlike the majority of things that make Google’s search engine tick over, Google’s Penguin updates are crafted by hand based on research and tests done in-house by the search engineers at Google. It’s not an algorithm doing all of this by itself, unfortunately.

After each Penguin release, the guys at Google will be analyzing the results to see if the signals they introduced or removed after the last roll-out have either a positive or negative affect on the search results for queries or industries which were targeted in that update. They’ll use those results to craft their next release.

3) Disavow Only Followed Links

When putting together your disavow file there’s no need to add in links that have the nofollow attribute attached to them. This is because when Google processes your disavow file they simply treat those links in exactly the same way.

Essentially, if a link pointing to your site is nofollowed and you then submit that link within your disavow file then you’re basically asking Google not to follow it twice.

I’d still disavow them, though. Since you likely have no control over those bad links, you won’t know if the nofollow attribute is removed later on, and then it could hurt you.