The latest Nielsen Online Ratings have seen smh.com.au take the number one spot from news.com.au, which has been number one since May of this year.
Smh.com.au has seen its audience rise to 2.94 million compared to 2.88 million for its rival, with Mi9 third with 2.625 million visitors.
At the other end of the rankings, the MailOnline rose to 10th place with an audience of 1.316 million, alongside The Daily Telegraph’s subscription-based site and BBC.
The changes in the rankings are a sign online news is set to become an increasingly competitive space in 2014, with the MailOnline to launch in Australia early next year in a joint venture with Mi9.
The MailOnline announced last month it intended to hire 50 journalists to create the biggest digital team in the country. The team will be based in Sydney alongside the Mi9 team, which also will handle ad sales.
Earlier this month, the MailOnline hired Luke McIlveen, the editor of news.com.au, from News Corp Australia in a move that is seen as a direct challenge to News.
The Guardian, which launched in Australian in May, has moved in and out of the top 10 Nielsen Online Ratings in recent months with an Australian audience across its domestic and overseas websites of around 1.1 million to 1.3 million.
The Nielsen Online Ratings top 10 news websites are based on the unique audience of each website.