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In situations where product despription content exceeds 3 paragraphs, we offer a link at the end of paragraph 3 that takes the user to another page that has the complete product desciption. This page is 90% similar to the main product page...except that the product description is longer.
The same is true for user reviews. If we have more than 6 reviews, we offer a link to a similar page that has the full listing of user reviews. Again, this is an exact replica of our main product page with expanded user review content.
The above allows for 3 pages for each of our products.
My web team would like to consolidate this information into one page, using hidden div tags. If you look at products on target's website, you will see they have tabs at the bottom, and when clicked, hidden content behind them is shown. This is what we want to do, but I've read and heard elsewhere that target's use of hidden div tags isn't safe. However, the content is still in the source and is indexable.
So, is duplicating target's technique a safe thing to do?
Keep in mind that as a rule Google checks to see if something you did is good for the user. If so, they don't penalize you for it.
While you should do some more research on it, maybe someone else can chime in with some additionl insight.
All the content exists in one html document, rather than being distributed through several. This means fewer possible pages to be considered in any given search result, and the extra crush of text can tend to swamp important keywords so they don't rank as well. The more text you consolidate onto a single page, the stronger this effect seems to be.
When someone arrives from a search engine, their particular keywords may be hidden from view and then you lose them. So it's best to write a script that exampines inbound traffic from search engines and make sure a div that holds their keywords is switched to visible -- that's extra processing time and time to render the page.
Then there's also the fact that by eliminating so many urls on a site, you are also taking away internal links and PageRank may suffer.
That said, it can be very convenient for the user, and therefore boost sales. The page changes configuration locally rather than needed another server hit -- it's pretty sweet.
There are other technical reasons that my client wanted to go this way from the start -- I would have preferred separate pages and I still do, but their back end setup makes a separate page arrangement a bit problematic.