+Kevin R Kosar
I'd have to be a dozen people at Google rolled into one in order to do that, because not even at Google does one person know everything, however industry experience of many trusted SEOs says it has to do with a number of things.
- The ability to have complete control with SEO plugins an tools.
- The fact that there is core code in a free-hosted platform that no amount of domain forwarding or aliasing can change, that looks the same across millions of free-hosted sites, that the search engines tend to give 'negative points' for. Why, or how, is a Google algorhythm mystery to the rest of us.
It's like when people were using a text-link-ads plugin and G banned everyone from the SERPs. They found the code and removed them all. TLA had to revamp their plugin and people had to beg Google for mercy. Yes, this is an extreme example, but people who believe that free-hosted is 'the same as paid' are wrong, on a core code level. Stuff they never see.
- Too many 'free' blog sites go up every day and are never touched again. When you pay for hosting, it shows you're making an investment, and the search engines put more faith in your site from the beginning. I can rank a self-hosted blog light years faster than a free-hosted one.