Recently, a lot of SEOs trying to sound relevant and cutting edge will tell you that keywords no longer matter. They believe that somehow, search engines are able to do a topical analysis of content without reading keywords, or that they are so advanced that you can say everything but the keyword you want to rank for and acheive a top search engine position.
While search engines are getting smarter about correlating related topical words, keywords still matter. A lot.
I think they they mean to say is that keyword phrases no longer matter. At least that’s closer to the truth.
Topical optimization does not mean throwing out keywords and keyword research completely. More precisely, it just means being smarter about how to use keywords and your keyword research to create authoritative content on a specific topic.
Use keyword research to help you flesh out the content your audience is interested in. Not only does the research give you an idea of the specific words that resonate with your audience, but it tells you what they need to know about a topic.
Armed with that information, just write naturally and your “keywords” will no doubt be sufficiently worked into the content.