I have started adding keywords to my pictures using Adobe Bridge [because Windows won't tag my Canon .cr2 raw files] and the keywords are save as a separate .xmp file. Can I embed keywords in the metadata of the file rather than as a separate .xmp file?
If you convert them to dng files, you can embed the metadata. Otherwise, an XMP file is created, unless you use the save in a camera raw database option in the camera raw preferences.
I would go with the dng method, as using the camera raw database allows for files to get separated from the xmp info.
RAW files cannot store metadata. You must have a sidecare file or render them to a different format to embed keywords.