when Im writing a blog post there's a "keywords" section right above the NOINDEX check boxes, do I need to fill this in? I ask because this section doesn't appear in my older wordpress site, only the newer one. so is it required?

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Lev Premium
No need to. Google doesn't look at the meta keywords like they used to. The important factors for your on-page SEO are target keywords in your title and H1 tag (with some themes the title is also the H1). Also have it in the 1st paragraph and last paragraph bolded.
IntroVent Premium
No. When you publish, that happens automatically through your SEO plugin.