I've read that Google will penalize you if you have different anchor texts pointing to the same page within your site. I'm wondering if this applies to minor differences such as "Widgets" and "All Widgets"?
Different anchor text within site causes penalty?!
This is a new one on me. Can't imagine it's real. Certainly, never experienced it myself and we definitely use varied anchor test to same pages within the site. And, trust me, we have very good rankings.
I wouldn't waste any time on this.
I mean, looking at blogs and stuff. I am sure they link to past posts/pages with different emphasis and therefore different anchor text. And, like I said, so do we even within our online store catalogue.
I have seen penalties when sites vary the anchor text for menu links or sitewide footer links. That is obviously an attempt to manipulate the algo, since normally links in the basic template are consitent across every page. Other than that kind of thing, natural anchor text variaton is certainly expected and common.
Be careful about what you read and taking it too much to heart. You may not have understood the complete situation - maybe even the person writing didn't understand it fully.
The same menu item in the same place in an identical menu tree (sya in the top bar) should probably have consistent anchor text. But, another adhoc link or even a regular link in an alternative menu (like the sidebar) can be different.
I've got to agree with Tedster, Suggy and KevinC - and add one other thing - if you can control/suggest links on OTHER sites to yours, those should not have the identical text either. Google assumes there will be natural variations in links other people make, and if they are all identical, may discount them