Since the last Google update on July 16th, SEOs have been scrambling to understand what is going on with the weird link: query results. We now have a little more insight into what is going on over at Google. As the title of this entry reads, Google has defused the ability to Google Bomb a site. Well, in some cases. Here is how it works.
Danny Sullivan provided some really great detail on this theory at a thread he named Change To Link Bomb Sign Of New Link Analysis Shift?, where he discusses an email he received from Daniel Brandt of Google Watch.
The basic premise of Danny's post, to my understanding, is that a Google Bomb is only effective when one of the words within the anchor text is found on the page copy. For example, 100 pages with the keyword text "Google Bomb" point to www.abc.com/page1.html. If the page does not contain the text "Google" or "Bomb" in the page copy, then the Google Bomb will be ineffective. But if one of the two keywords are present in the copy, then the Google Bomb would work. Before the Google update of July 16th, the keywords did not have to be found within the page copy to successfully rank well.
Check out the thread at the Search Engine Watch Forums for more detail and history.