Keywords play a big role even after all of these years. Its one of the major factors in SEO. Optimizers have to look very carefully for keywords. As the place on search engine results especially in Google, MSN, and Yahoo as brutal competitors. While Google has changed its algorithm to be less influenced by keywords, other search engines still utilize them in the overall rating of pages and rankings for sites.
Backlinks from authority sites are the most important factor to wind this race. You will be on the first page of search engine results, if you have backlinks from authority sites with greater PageRank. Also Google has hidden algorithm which look after everything the website is doing for promotion. If its in natural way, then the website get promoted automatically and get good PR. Again backlinks play major role here. So backlinks are the most important factor after keywords (or nowadays even before keywords) which can be achieved and will give good ranking for your website while considering search engine optimization for the website.