MediaPost says that a recently released study by the Boston Consulting Group indicates that consumers are willing to pay small monthly fees for access to online news content, which could help fund search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns on behalf of news websites.

Other studies cited by MediaPost, however, suggest that public opinion is not united on the issue, with a survey conducted by Forrester Research saying that 80 percent of Americans would be unwilling to pay for newspaper content on the internet. This should strike a cautionary note for advocates of stronger paywalls, which could complicate search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and drive pages lower in Google rankings.

Some of those advocates, including Rupert Murdoch, argue that online search is killing the newspaper business, indexing expensive-to-produce news content for free and driving off the advertisers that provide the main income for the industry.

Others, however, say that newspaper sites simply suffer from poor search engine optimization (SEO) and that more effective SEO could drive traffic numbers higher, replacing the lost revenue from print advertising.