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A: The short answer is “No.” While we advocate W3C validation as a general web development best practice, we are not aware of any direct connection between validation and search engine rankings. The majority of websites, including many websites with top rankings on search engines, as well as the search engine websites themselves, do not validate with the W3C validation. However, there may be specific invalid code that your SEO consultant is concerned about. It is possible that the W3C validation check found errors in your code (such as a missing end quote or a duplicated tag) that could potentially be a problem for search engines.
We consider W3C HTML validation a helpful tool for observing a website, but not an end-all goal (our own website, for example, is not fully validated). if your SEO consultant is telling you that it will cost $5,000 to gain validation for your site, you should find out exactly what errors he or she is observing, and why those are specifically going to cause ranking or indexing problems. If this information isn’t forthcoming, then we think you’re being hoodwinked. Get a second opinion before you pay for the fix!
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