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One of the site maps is linked to a set of pages, that then is linked to almost every page on the website. There are several thousand pages.
I am wondering if I were to create parallel (similar but not similar enough that I'd get penalized) site maps that linked to all of my pages, and then linked to them from the homepage, would this significantly increase my PageRank for the several thousand pages?
For instance, I could have 3 site-maps instead of 1 and this could tripple the PR of most of my pages. It would decrease that of the pages that are directly linked from the homepage, but this flatter structure would more accurately reflect the importance of my pages.
The only down side to this is that I cannot really justify having three or five site-maps =)
Is this a good idea?
Marcia is right, why not break the thousands of pages up into topics, create a page for each topic, link it from the main PR source, and then link to the most important pages on topic.
I haven't figured out how to have "themes" work for my website because it is powered from a relational database. For instance, one of the basic pages displays information about a group. This group can be related to anywhere from zero to twenty (or concievably a hundred) themes (things like peace, the environment, racism, etc) - and if it is related then it is internally linked to them.
So my website structure in many ways could be said to be circular.
I have a lot of themes (150+ and growing) and a lot of different objects that could be classified by the theme (perhaps 10 types of objects). Sometimes it makes more sense to sort by type of object, and sometimes it makes more sense to sort by theme. If you try to sort by theme and object (which can also make sense) then you end up with 1500+ combinations which is definitely too many.
Thus I don't see it fitting into a clean hierarchy (like that of the "Search Engine Theme Pyramids" article).
I apologize if this is confusing. I know it confuses me =)
If you want to, you can take a look at my site in my profile. It is rather unique in its structure.
I'm still left wondering: Should I create multiple site maps to get more PR? I'm inclined to give it a try!
I'm still left wondering: Should I create multiple site maps to get more PR?
You talk about your site structure being confusing to even you. Decide what kind of structure/organization makes the most sense to visitors, be consistent with that structure throughout your site and create your site maps accordingly.
These days PR isn't as important as it used to be. Let PR be a secondary consideration.
Should I create multiple site maps to get more PR?
Remember, external links increase PR, internal links distribute PR. (I think you get that anyway from your posts though).
If those 30 links on the homepage are of lesser importance, can they be moved to a secondary page so you only have one link from the homepage to there?
I don't think multiple sitemaps are the way to go unless they are actually useful to your user, - offering different navigation perspectives, eg for a gifts site you might map by product type, by age appropriateness, by gender, by relationship type or by interest/hobby, etc.
I'd look hard at your navigation structure as a whole and see whether you have that right for your user - you might be surprised how well that can fit with a search engine strategy.