You can do what WordPress does. A big part of understanding that is using WordPress and seeing how it works. I get great SEO using Django and PyroCMS as CMSes - because I studied what made WordPress so good and worked that into the web frameworks I use (Django, CodeIgniter and Spring MVC).
The truth is that the CMS itself just holds your content. Of course you need the right fields and a solid architecture to keep everything efficient, but the real heavy lifting in terms of SEO is done in the way you code your front end - same as WordPress. WordPress does a great job with keyword rich URLs,
h1 tags and internal links, but you can build that into any front end system you choose.
One thing that makes WordPress powerful for SEO is something that a lot of "corporate" sites lack - lots of text. A blog, by nature, is text heavy - and search engines love text. Sometimes people ask me why their site is low on search engine rankings and I see a top page with a slider, a menu and a bunch of image links to internal pages. Maybe they have a single
h1 tag. This may make a good looking top page, but there often isn't enough keyword-rich text to really show what the site is about.
Content is still king.