Is a private domain name better for search engine ranking than a hosted domain (like on Blogger.com)
assuming content value is same, and both url contain same keyword phrase
Yes, and no. Using a site like Hubpages allows your pages to automatically fit within the current competition to some degree. (Explains why Wikipedia articles are always in the top of the searches for definitions.)
Not for a newbie, absolutely not. At present, most search engine algorithms follow in Google's footprints and focus on 1) inbound links and 2) relevant content. Private domains can be useful if, for example, you are Intel Corporation and already have a well established presence on the web. Private domains are like icons on your desktop for frequently used applications.
It's easier to start on hubpages or squidoo and get something to rank, than it is to start your own blog and get that to rank.
Still, buy that domain - long term, if you point your hubs and squidoo lenses to it, it has every chance of ranking (as in within a few months) and you'll be making more too. That is, if there's good affiliate income in that niche.
When it comes to adsense, a private hosted blog is not likely to make you more than a set of hubs on the same topic.
A private domain is ALWAYS better than any other choice in the long run if you are willing to put the time into to improve it with recognized methods like good material and backlinking.
That said, in the short term you may rank on sites like Hubpages, but you are always at their mercy and opportunities for improvement are limited. If you are serious, get that domain and use Hubpages, etc. as a source of backlinks for your real domain.
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