Yes, knowing your SEO is important if you want your content to be found and indexed by Google. The important thing to remember is that you aren't writing for Google, you're writing for the people who use Google to find your content.
Do you enjoy reading copy that is so full of keywords it doesn't make any sense? Do you like wasting precious time on a badly written piece of search engine bait? Or would you rather find a piece that gives you the information you were looking for?
Don't write drivel for the search bots. Write quality content for people who are interested in your particular niche. It's not as instantly rewarding, but it's a lot more sustainable.
If you write clear, informative content, the people who find you are likely to come back. If you are really good, they may well recommend you to their friends. That's the key to success.
Make sure people find you once, spend time on your site, bookmark your site and share it with their social network.