Anchor Text is the visible, clickable text in a web page or email link.
So in that previous sentence, the anchor text is ‘web page’.
There’s no question that it helps search engines. That link above is a signal that the page being linked to concerns the term ‘web page’, so it’ll help the target page with SEO. But does the link also help the page on which it lives?
You would certainly hope so, because there are several ways in which links like this help the user experience, and search engines are keener than ever to claim that they reward good user experience.
For a start, links help people scanning through a page looking for something else. They also presumably provide good supporting information. And if they have good anchor text (like the link above), rather than ‘click here’, they’re helpful to users with screen readers.
It turns out to be almost certainly the case that having quality outbound links with good anchor text will help the page hosting those links, as well as the target pages. Google representatives often refer to the presentation of anchor text in chats, and ‘using links wisely’ is even discussed in Google’s Starter Guide to SEO. So use them sensibly, wherever they link, and you’ll help your readers and do no harm in terms of your own SEO.