Egypt's long-standing daily newspaper Al-Ahram has come first in the latest poll from Forbes Middle East on the top newspapers online in the Arab world.
The paper, founded in 1875 by two Lebanese brothers living in Alexandria, launched the Arabic version of its website in 1998. The website has now been deemed the most worthy of the title despite not receiving the most number of visitors to the site.
"We based our decision half on Google analytics and half on Forbes editors' analysis," said Maha Kaddoura, a senior researcher at Forbes Middle East. "We figured that visitors is not the only criteria. We looked at what the website offered in terms of integration, interactivity and services."
Ms Kaddoura said Al-Ahram's rich user experience and active role on social media websites had helped it to reach the top spot. Forbes also analysed the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and LinkedIn accounts of all the outlets, judging levels of activity, number of followers and subscribers.
"Nowadays, social media is viral. It is the only media that transcends all cultures, traditions and countries," said Ms Kaddoura.
In terms of visitors to websites, the Egyptian daily Al Youm Al Sab'ea reached an unparalleled 842 million visits in the year ending August 31. Saudi Arabia's Al Riyadh came second with 124 million visits while Algeria's Echourouk el Youmi came third with 79 million visits. The UAE's Gulf News came fourth with 77 million visits and Al Ahram rounded off the top five with 75 million visits.
Unique visits to the websites, however, alters the ranking slightly with Saudi Arabian titles accounting for the majority of the top 10. Al Youm Al Sabe'a tops the list with 145 million unique visitors followed by Al Riyadh with 36 million and Al Ahram with 31 million unique visitors.
The UAE's The National came in second after Oman's Al Rroya in terms of new visits to its website.
News websites account for 52 per cent of Forbes' top websites in the Arab world, marking a positive note for the industry, followed by sports websites with 37 per cent.