I work for a company that sells a lot of rare items such as antique military stuff.
I am concerned that we have 1,000's of old indexed pages optimized for the essentially the same keywords like "antique civil war swords".
When a product is sold out, we just keep the page in the index. Currently there is not a category page to link to...all the pages are "stand alone"...no parent/child linking.
How would Google know which of our 1,000's of indexed pages to return in the results? What we're doing is not working for us, I think the creations of a main catgeory page for "antique civil war swords" is possibly the answer.
< Moderators' note: According to the Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com], we normally ask members not to discuss specific keywords. But we're making an exception here because we really can't see a good way to communicate the relationships in the keywords/categories by using "widgets" and the like. >
If I were working with your challenge, I'd go with the category (sub-category?) approach in an instant. It might create some design challenges in the main menu and other navigational elements, but I think you're on to something with this approach.