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About a year and a half ago, I closed the store and converted the site to an information site including offering free widgets. I'm ranking pretty well for the appropriate keywords, and PR does get assigned to the free widget category pages and specific free widget pages, but PR is kinda slow when it updates, and when it does, it's usually like PR1 or PR2. No biggie. I don't typically pay attention to it that often anyway since ranking is what I'm mainly concerned with.
A few months ago, I decided to add affiliate pages to offer gadgets again, the same type of gadgets that I used to sell directly on the site, but now I've got a category page with links to each specific gadget with description & affiliate link to the store that sells it.
I noticed that google has fallen in love with these pages. They were indexed very quickly. Some of them are ranking on the first and second page of the serps for the gadget name already. But the weirdest thing I noticed was that the gadget category page has the same PR as my home page and so do some of the deeper linked specific gadget pages.
I'm finding it surprising that google has assigned so much PR to these newer pages. I don't know if it's because the word gadget is in my domain name, or that google somehow remembers I used to sell these gadgets here (they ranked pretty well as products, too, but the urls are completely different now) or what...I dunno. I've added the same type of affiliate pages for widgets and have not seen the same kind of love. I have no backlinks yet, obviously, for these gadget pages, and tons of backlinks to the free widgets pages.
Not sure exactly what this information will do for anyone, but thought it strange enough to share.
It might lead more traffic to those pages more relevant to your domain, which might result eventually in more links. You say, though, that you don't have any backlinks for those pages yet. How have you checked this? The Google link: operator gives you only a random sampling of results. You're much better off checking with Yahoo's Site Explorer.
A more likely explanation would be PR distribution via your internal nav link structure. PageRank referred by a page is divided up among the links leaving that page. So (oversimplifying) a page with 10 outgoing links is sending 1/10 of its PR to each of the 10 pages it links to, whereas a page with 20 outgoing links is sending 1/20 of its PR to each of the 20 pages it links to.
If you've separated widgets and gadgets into two main categories, and had previously removed most of your gadgets pages but are now adding them back slowly, you may have more widgets pages than gadgets pages... and (depending on how you've set up your nav hierarchy) each of your gadgets pages might be getting more PR than each of your widgets pages.