Robert_Charlton - 7:57 am on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)
So the problem might be that I am linking FROM informational pages to my (same site) ecommerce page.
It might help to think about such links, particularly contextual links, from the user's point of view.
If the user is reading an informational page and, say, your first use of the "blue widgets" phrase on this page is a contextual link, I think the reader might naturally expect that clicking it would lead to more information about blue widgets. The NYT and Wikipedia, eg, use such links essentially as footnotes. So, if it's not an informational link, you've perhaps misled the user. If I were so misled, I might leave the site... or certainly back out of the link.
Ditto with the image links... Was it clear where they'd be taking the user? Were they for Google or were they for the user?
Did you use analytics to get a sense of when users left those pages? Sounds like it might be too late now, but I'm guessing if you'd tracked your visitors, you'd see some dissatisfaction because of those links.
It's very possible to set up clearly marked "buy" buttons, or text links at the end of an article, that indicate to the visitor that, if they're interested, they can buy blue widgets from you as well as read about them.
While you may get fewer information page visitors clicking on those ecommerce links, it's more likely the visitors are going to the ecommerce blue widget page for the right reason. I think you're too fixated on that anchor text... and from previous concerns you've expressed about whether Google might not like your page if it was an ecommerce page, I think you've been trying to fuzz the distinction for years... when in fact clarifying the distinction might help you.
Ultimately, the success of your e-commerce pages, though, will be determined by whether your offerings are attractive in the market place. That's another whole issue. But they're definitely not going to be determined by the number of exact matches of anchor text you manage to squeeze into your site.
Regarding the issues of contextual links and site-wide links, these two threads might be of interest....
Introducing heavy internal linking to well ranking site
Site wide links and Penalties