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Google PageRank System

Remember that google is the best because they are more advanced. I'm willing to bet that the PR for things like links would be helped by alt tags a lot, but also your descriptions. They don't necessarily have to be inside the link, but google like content.

Have the links in a paragraph of text full of keywords, I bet you'll get higher click thru's for one, but more chance of google finding the link more relevant.
PR is the things that you need to consider if you have well optimised your site, else it wont really help much in your ranking. Both keyword density and the distribution are important. It is advisable for you to understand various techniques that your competitors used (it might not be obvious) and compete with them at the same ground.

For example, if all your competitors use a keyword density of 3% for the competing keywords, it is quite "unusual" for you to optimise your site to a level that you have 10% keyword density. This might let google think that you are just trying to spam.