Hello davenmidtown. Yes keywords and tags are the same thing, just one extra piece of jargon to learn. :)
You can incorporate keywords and key phrases into your hubs, be very careful though, you are a good writer so can probably do it easier than most.
Too many people load or stuff their hubs to draw the traffic but lose the reader because the result is incomprehensible. I'd say stick to at most three key words or phrases used sparingly in a good content post. It is like when you watch the ads on TV you will usually hear and see the product named three or five times in thirty seconds. The brain hooks the three or five time repetition more than that becomes irritating.
As humans design the search engines we program to our own patterns.
With regard to the keyword tab, it takes a while to mature, if you go back to an old hub after three months or so it does start to give updated search results using Googles daily searches over the last thirty days. So you can pick up some tips as to new keywords then. Handy if you are writing a hub on a similar subject.
Hope this helps.