Keywords are still important, the way these are used has changed, however. In the past, it was enough to do keyword stuffing - repeating the keyword a number of times throughout the text - to get ranked for the particular phrase of preference. The situation, however, has changed . Through a couple of algorithm updates, Google killed some traditional techniques and brought new opportunities to the table.
You can still do keyword research  and choose what to optimize your content for. The keyword can be introduced in the meta tags and the title tags. When it comes to content, however, make sure that the text is unique and interesting. If you mention the keyword, it should appear there naturally. Those are the best ways to optimize your content. Focusing on your audience rather than search engines when writing texts will produce the best results.