Why do some hubs have a URL and others say "not available?"
URLs must be unique. If it says "not available" it means the URL is already taken. You can still use the same title as other articles on HubPages, but the URL can not be the same, so you will have to change it slightly.
If I change the title of my hub and re-tool it, do I then need to change the URL or otherwise it will say "not available?" Thanks!
Title and URL are two different entities that you can control separately. As Christy pointed out, you can have a same Title as another hub. But if you get a "not available" error then just make a slight change to the URL and try again.
Frankly, if a topic has already been done and the page made it to a niche site, I would avoid it. If the competitor is poor and doomed to remain on the main site, that's another thing altogether.
If the URL comes up as "not available", that probably means there's another Hub with the same title already in existence. If you continue to write to that title, you'll be in direct competition with that other Hub, so you should go look at it (copy and paste that URL into your browser) and see what it's like.
If it's a good one and you don't think you can outrank it, then don't use that title!
By the way, you should never accept the URL that's automatically created anyway, because you're missing an opportunity. Your title is far more important than your URL in getting search engine traffic, but it's a good idea to maximise both. It's likely you can think of several search terms which people might use to find your Hub, and it's unlikely you'll be able to fit them all in your title. So, put the best ones in your title and the others in your URL - that way you've covered as many bases as possible.
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