The following list is all the WordPress plugins I use to optimize my site.
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – A sitemap is a must if you want your site to be fully indexed by search engines. This plugin automatically generates a sitemap.
Google Sitemaps – Along with the Dagon Design Sitemap Generator (DDSG), this plugins creates a Google compliant XML sitemap. A link is inserted on to the bottom of DDSG plugin.
Head META Description – the meta description hasn’t been useful the last couple years for Google SEO-wise, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. If you don’t have a meta description, google bot will grab the first couple hundred characters of your page, which isn’t so useful for the surfer. This plugin use the blog description for the front page and for posts/pages, it gives you the choice of writing an excerpt for the meta description or defaults to first couple hundred characters of the post/page text.
Permalink Redirect – WordPress sometimes uses 2 different urls that link to the same page, which is considered duplicate content/ URL canonicalization. The way to get around that is to pick one url you want to use and all the duplicate URLs you want to redirect with 301. This plugin 301 redirects any URLs that are different from the entry’s permalink automatically.
SEO Title Tag – The title tag is probably the most important tag for SEO. Even though all my themes are SEOed by using the post title as the title tag, this plugin will go further and let you choose any title you want (default uses the post/page title). Since the H1 tag also uses the post/page title, it would be good to vary the title tag a little bit. This plugin also allows you to mass edit your titles.
Related Posts – This plugin is used to create a better internal link structure by outputting posts that is related to the post a person is reading. Also makes it a lot easier for a reader to navigate.
Ultimate Tag Warrior/Jerome’s Keywords– Like meta descriptions, meta keywords are not as useful for Google, but for other search engines, it may weigh more. Both of these plugins are great and do just about the same thing. Both will insert custom meta keywords into each page and show past keywords you’ve used. UTW also can use yahoo to search for relevant keywords for a page you’re writing. Also both plugins are used to create a tag cloud. I would personally use Jerome’s keywords because it’s lighter if all you want is the meta keywords.
Objection Redirection – If you already had your site for a while and used an older linking structure, this plugin will redirect those.
Feedburner FeedSmith – Redirect all your RSS links to your feedburner account, while still able to keep the RSS link on your site. Helps with duplicate content. If you use the my robots.txt file, then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s till nice to keep your feed url on your domain though.
Non-SEO WordPress Templates
Akismet – This is probably the best plugin for fighting spam. Comes with the default WordPress install.
WP-Contact Form: Akismet Edition – If you want someone to contact you, use this plugin so spam bots can’t harvest your email address. This version goes further by using Akismet to block out spam that try to contact you by using the form.
WordPress Database Backup – pretty self explanatory, this will allow you to backup your database without going into the mysql admin. It can either save it to the server, let you download it, or email it to you. Also can automatically backup in hourly, daily, or weekly intervals.