Google have confirmed that they have begun minimizing the impact of many Googlebombs.
This is highlighted by Search Engine Land’s post which shows the before and after screenshots of a “miserable failure” search on Google. If you don’t know what the previous result was I’m not quite sure where you’ve been, but despite it’s completely irrelevant on-site content, the number one ranking was for George Bush’s biography on whitehouse.gov due to the large quantities of inbound links pointing to this page containing the anchor text “miserable failure” (this method is known as Googlebombing). This page has now been removed from the top 10,000 miserable failure results, a find search is quicker than checking them all! :)
What is interesting about this change is that it’s due to a algorithm change rather than a manual removal of the result. Below is a quote from Bill Slawski about the new algorithm which basically means that if a webpage has been bombed with numerous links containing the same (or similar) keywords this will no longer be enough for that page to rank highly for those keywords if the on-site content has no relation to the anchor text.
“Importing the related bit vector from a target document URL1 into the phrase A related phrase bit vector for document URL0 eliminates the reliance of the search system on just the relationship of phrase A in URL0 pointing to URL1 as an indicator of significance or URL1 to the anchor text phrase.”
It will be interesting to see how much weight these links have as general backlinks and if their value is passed on in terms of PageRank, at the moment this seems unclear.