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In other words, does the anchor text have to appear on both the sending and receiving page, or (this is my real question...) can a phrase that only appears in the anchor text benefit the destination page?
Search google for leave and Disney comes up first. This is rumored to be due to many porn sites giving you the choice of enter or leave and if you don't enter, they send you to Disney. Disney wouldn't see any reason to optimize the page for "leave" but they sure place well for it.
joined:Nov 11, 2000
Type in "miserable failure" in Google and check out what comes up first.
Last time I looked, this worked on all the major engines... so yes, anchor text can do it alone.
But, as your target phrases get more competitive, other factors enter into it, and it's amazing what a little page tuning can do.
There's a great scene in To Have and to Have Not, when Lauren Bacall, after kissing Humphrey Bogart, says to him: "It's even better when you help." It's like that with links too.