I've had the opportunity to build some websites with Wordpress for some resort owners and bloggers and did some SEO in the process. That experience gave me insight into how to set up Wordpress for SEO.
First I'm going to show you some of the plugins I use:
Wordpress SEO by Yoast
Before I used All In One SEO and I have used Headspace 2. One day I came across this website called Yoast.com and I learned about his plugin called Wordpress SEO by Yoast.
What I found is that when using All in One SEO and Headspace 2 I needed to install 2 or 3 more plugins to get the same functionality. So I threw those out the window and now I use Wordpress SEO by Yoast exclusively.
I like the fact that you can set up your webmaster code, your xml sitemap, nofollow settings, breadcrumbs, rss feeds, meta tags (of course) and that you can have a preview of how your post will look in Google before you publish it.
Now all of these SEO plugins work and are good but in my humble opinion Wordpress SEO by Yoast is the best (and I used the other 2 plugins). Now it can be a bit more intimidating to set everything up but once you learn how to do it it's certainly worth it.
W3 Total Cache
I started looking for a caching plugin when I was working on a website for a Resort in Thailand. The owner wanted me to use fancy rotating pictures and the website took like 10 seconds to load.
When your website takes longer then 5 second to load you loose half of your visitors and your ranking will inevitably suffer because the search engine spiders pick up on that.
So I installed this plugin and I must say I was a bit intimidated by all the settings at first. You see W3 Total Cache is the best caching plugin for Wordpress out there and the setting can be a bit overwhelming. Luckily I found a good guide on how to set everything up.
To my surprise the site loaded much faster. It went from 10 seconds to under 5 seconds.
If your interested in using this plugin but feel your are a bit intimidated you can use my settings. Check my sig, if you sign up you get an SEO manual and my W3 Total Cache Settings.
So now the website loaded under 5 seconds but that was not fast enough for me. So I found this cool little plugin called WP Smush.it.
What this plugin does is when you upload an image it removes all the garbage and metadate without loss of quality. Some images where now 30% smaller!
The website now loaded in just under 3 seconds.
This plugin should be included in the standard Wordpress installation.
SEO Friendly Images
Optimizes you images for SEO. You can do this manually but when you set up this plugin everything happens on autopilot. I was able to get some images on the first page of Google like that and the site got some good traffic because of it.
I've been using this plugin for as long as I've been using Wordpress. Searches your content and tries to redirect your visitors to relevant content instead of showing them an error page.
YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin)
Show relevant posts at the end of a post. This is good for many reasons. First of all your visitors might keep on reading, secondly your passing link juice to your content and your site gets crawled more easily.
Creates numbered links at the bottom of your blog or category pages.
SEO Smart Links
Interlinks your content which is good for many reasons and a very good plugin for bloggers.
Share and Follow
There are many social plugins out there but I like this one.
Before I even begin I always sit down and think about my site structure. I create categories and tags.
With the Wordpress SEO plugin by Yoast you can create metadata for your category and tag pages. You can do some great stuff with that. I got a free manual on the subject. Check out my signature if you want to know more.
If you have any questions, arguments, feedback, angry comments because I didn't list you favorite plugin. Just let me know