Linktravaganza: Cloaking Without the Cloak
Linktravaganza: The process of adding unnecessary links to your web page or application for the sole purpose of pleaseing search engines.
It is amazing that in 2015, we still see things like this. Call it what you like, but I have a tendency to call such things Blackhat SEO. It may not be as obvious as cloaking links (hiding links offscreen, font-size: 0 or using same color as background), but it comes pretty damn close.
Stay away from outdated and questionable techniques like these that may get you into hot water with search engines. Sitemaps are a beautiful thing. They are your friends. Use them. This is the purpose for which they are intended. Instead, do all that you can to be a part of creating as beautiful, as usable, as accessible, and as pleasant an experience on the web. Always. Doing anything else is a disservice to your colleagues, clients and users. If you are attempting to create an experience for any reason other than this then you will fail.
Look, it is quite simple. All search engines want for you to do is to help them provide relevant and valuable search results to their end users. We do this by focusing our attention on providing meaningful content or a reliable service for users. That's it! That is all there is to it! So do that and do it well (and better than your competitors if that is how you roll) and glory, as well as better rankings, will be yours.