Answer 1: Yes, the search engine which owns almost 80% of the market does concern itself with showing accurate information regarding that which people try to find online.
OR: read the following answer to your question (Hint: it’s the better one):
Answer 2: Yes, there are clear indicators that prove Google still takes keywords into account when displaying search results. It would be pretty weird to display search results for keywords that someone searches for without using the keywords that someone searches for.
As you yourself can see in Answer 2: you understand what I’m typing much better because you get to read what you intended to read when you wrote your own words.. your own keywords.
My keywords match your keywords, and you prefer Answer 2 as opposed to Answer 1. Therefore, if Google would send you to a page which only contained answer 1, you’d immediately feel like you landed on the wrong page and you’d hit the BACK button in your browser. That would send a signal to Google telling them that you don’t like the page.
Their people and also their system have seen this happening quite often.
In the first answer I provided, I just wrote similar words to your keywords and you felt like you weren’t reading an answer for your exact question.
Engineers at Google are very smart and they know these things better than anyone else. Do not believe the hype, do not believe articles written by others on the web with the sole purpose of making them sound smart and desirable.
By using the right sets of words, it will be easier for your answers and your pages to match the intent of the person searching on the web.
In the last Quarter we’ve seen many indications that Google cares about exact keywords even more than it did in the past. If your page is 100% Optimized for a keyword and the items inside Focus Pages in Squirrly SEO are turned to Green, you will always outrank pages that weren’t written 100% for that exact keyword.
Sometimes, you’ll see the TOP 10 positions for “anime toys” be completely different than TOP 10 positions for “best anime toys”, or “anime best toys”, etc.
Google knows that people need to see the keywords they searched for inside the articles they land on. If you want more indication of this, see how Google tries to match the META Description when displaying search results. Sometimes it doesn’t care about the META Description you wrote. They will show to their user a Meta Description that is as close to the exact keywords as possible.
Therefore, they keep using keywords. [this article is about Keywords in general, NOT about META keywords]