on Just Publishing Advice:
Yes, keywords are an essential factor in helping your blog to rank on Google. But gaining backlinks is what will get your pages ranking in the top search positions.
Think about it like this. Your keywords tell search engines where to index your page.
But backlinks are like a popularity and authority contest. The more backlinks you have, the higher your pages will rank for each keyword.
Of all the ranking signals, your backlink profile is and always has been near the top of the list for Google.