Using Javascript to get around SEO concerns

I would like to know at which stage is it okay to start manipulating HTML elements/content using Javascript so as not to impair SEO? I have read somewhere that HTML content that is hidden using the CSS property display:none is often penalized by Google crawlers, with good reason from what I’m led to believe…I ask this …

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Using Javascript to get around SEO concerns

I would like to know at which stage is it okay to start manipulating HTML elements/content using Javascript so as not to impair SEO?
I have read somewhere that HTML content that is hidden using the CSS property display:none is often penalized by Google crawlers, with good reason from what I’m led to believe…I ask this as I intend to have some div panels that are initially hidden, but shown once the user clicks on an appropriate link. My intention is therefore not to hide content from users entirely – just intially to give them a better user experience – I’m afraid Google may not see it that way!
My reason for doing this is to prevent the split second (or in some cases, a full 2 seconds) of ghastly unstyled html elements (positioning), before my Javascript comes in to position, hide and neaten everything up. So adding the display:none at the forefront, and then using Javascript to toggle visibility would have been ideal, but is apparently a no-no with Google Search Engine bot.
Do you experts have any advice? Thank you!
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If the content in question exists on the page in the html, and is accessible to the user by the time the page finishes loading initially, then you are okay. You want to make sure google can lead a user to your page and see the content in question without requiring further interaction. Adding new content to the html after the initial load (i.e. content from the server), can be problematic for SEO. However if all content is in the html by the end of the page load, then you shouldn’t get docked. Keep in mind, good SEO strategy dictates using standard methods of usability so the web crawler can access your content.
Also, each page should follow a content theme. Example: Don’t abuse users by hiding five different unrelated blocks of content “medical devices, kazoos, best diners, motorcycles, toxic waste” on one page. Theoretically you could take all of your site’s content and lay it out on one page using javascript and ‘display:none’ waiting for an ‘onClick’, but that smells like spam.
EDIT, additional info as pertaining to the original question: The search engine friendly way to display content dynamically is to load it, then hide it from the user.
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google can now crawl AJAX sites using a simple URL substitution trick; you might be able to take advantage of this to let googlebot see a plain html version of the page for indexing instead of your load-optimized page; see http://code.google.com/web/ajaxcrawling/docs/getting-started.html

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Css Website development » Search Results » ajax

Using Javascript to get around SEO concerns

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