BigCommerce: The Stencil Advantage

Desktop monitor showing one half "Blueprint" text with arrow pointing to "Stencil" on other half of screen - BigCommerce logo on bottom - white background

At IntuitSolutions we’ve worked with BigCommerce’s eCommerce solution for years, since its inception, actually. We’ve built countless sites that enable our valuable customers to increase their value, on the web and off. BigCommerce stores are extremely flexible, very user friendly, and easy to manage, but like any other technology, there are countless options and details for your business to consider within the realm of BigCommerce’s platform. One very important consideration that your business should be focused on is the version of BigCommerce’s framework that your site is running, Blueprint or Stencil?

Google’s “March 2019 Core Update”

Google recently updated its algorithm, and speculation around the changes they’ve included is in high gear, per usual. While nobody can say for sure that they have all of the information relevant to this update, we’ve noticed some interesting data.

Here’s what we know: Sites we’ve moved to, or developed with, the BigCommerce Stencil framework are seeing spikes in organic search traffic. Check out the visualizations below:

Session data of a BigCommerce Blueprint website affected by the March Google Algorithm Update
Session data of a BigCommerce Stencil website affected by the March Google Algorithm Update

There is a clear difference. But why?

Well, when you go to the source, the picture becomes a bit more clear. Google says this about how they rank your site:

“From the beginning, Search has been guided by three core values.

  • Focus on the user
  • Empower website owners
  • Maximize access to information”

So, it would seem that Google is in a constant state of evaluation of how your online presence helps them accomplish their goals, because they are ultimately a business, just like you.

We believe that the sum of these values equals taking a multi-faceted approach to optimizing your website for the most important segment: Users.

To simplify the second value: Empowering website owners is about Google helping you help your users.

Maximizing access to information means enabling users from all walks with quick and intuitive access to information that provides them with what they are searching for, from any device.

Read more about the “March 2019 Core Update” here

Stencil approaches these values holistically, and leaves no stone unturned. Read on for more about how BigCommerce’s Stencil framework takes a highly active role in helping Google accomplish their goals…..

Stencil Is No Small Upgrade

Stencil is BigCommerce’s most current framework, and it has been built from the ground up for better overall site performance and best practices from a SEO(Search Engine Optimization) perspective. It is no exaggeration to say that the Stencil framework has been meticulously developed for web standards compliance, web design and development best practices, and accessibility.

We’ve also taken some liberties with Stencil, and have dedicated 100’s of hours of development to further optimize the already powerful “Cornerstone” Stencil framework, so you will see drastic improvements in page speeds and the overall code base of your website. We take BigCommerce development seriously, and it shows.

​Your users will have unparalleled access to your eCommerce site from a slew of different devices, and their experience will be a great one.

The Importance Of SEO

Search engine optimization is one of the most important things a business can consider when planning for the success of their online presence. Clean code, strong calls to action and headings(H1, H2, etc. tags), meta descriptions, page titles, and relevant copy that focuses on the keywords relevant to your business are a huge piece of the puzzle, and when you incorporate these techniques into the building of a site with an optimized framework like Stencil, you are going to see improvements in your site’s performance.

Clear Improvements In Search Ranking And Traffic

Visualizations are important for interpreting data, and we’re seeing some very interesting trends within our portfolio of BigCommerce sites. Please don’t get us wrong, if you’re using the Blueprint framework, you are still on a solid eCommerce platform, but the impact that upgrading your site to Stencil can have, is pretty impressive.

Take a look at some of the organic search engine traffic trend graphs below from our client’s sites, and you can see some interesting data from after Google’s “March 2019 Core Update”. It’s pretty clear that search engine optimized sites paired with the Stencil framework are outperforming Blueprint sites that are also taking the same approach from an SEO perspective.

​Here’s another comparison:

Session data of a BigCommerce Blueprint site affected by the March Google Algorithm Update
Session data of a BigCommerce Stencil site affected by the March Google Algorithm Update

More To Consider

The picture the above graphics paint is clear, Stencil sites are outperforming Blueprint sites, but again, we don’t suggest simply upgrading your site and forgetting it.

Many of the Blueprint sites we manage are employing search engine optimization tactics that we cater specifically to their business, even as they have not upgraded to Stencil. The power of the BigCommerce Stencil framework is obviously enhanced with these same SEO services, as the clients represented above can attest to.

IntuitSolutions’ Custom BigCommerce Stencil Theme In A Nutshell

    • IntuitSolutions has dedicated 100’s of hours of development to further optimize the already powerful “Cornerstone” Stencil framework so you will see dramatic improvements in page speeds and the overall codebase of your website
    • Meticulously developed for web standards compliance, web design and development best practices, and accessibility
    • Coded from the ground up with SEO best practices in mind, including rich snippets
    • Website responsiveness and customizability options have never been better
    • Adheres to Google’s guidelines for mobile website best practices
    • Increased website speed through page optimization means faster loading times on mobile devices
    • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) powered webpages give you an edge over your competitors in search results, and create a better overall experience on mobile devices
    • Streamlined code means less cost associated with setup and customization
    • Access to more payment options for your customers means more sales right out of the box
    • Powerful marketing features, like the ability to add “On Sale” buttons to all of your products, give you the power to increase sales
    • Better code, SEO best practices, and mobile responsiveness means better Search Engine ranking
    • Reach more customers across more devices
    • Win trust and sales with Stencil’s powerful new features; adding payment icons and trust seals is easier than ever before

Learn more about our Custom BigCommerce Base Theme.

Pairing a Stencil upgrade with one of our monthly managed SEO packages is simply a smart decision for your business. We offer a complete menu of services and can help you with content creation and other on-page SEO improvements, pay per click advertising, social media management, and anything else your business needs to gain an advantage on the web.

What Framework Powers Your BigCommerce Site?

Have you noticed any changes to your site’s rankings and organic traffic patterns since Google’s update? Have you seen increases or decreases? We’d like to hear from you, and are happy to answer any questions you have about SEO and Stencil.

Contact Us Today!

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