...these guys always seemed to have the latest knowledge base for their tool based on inside knowledge from Google
It was really helpful.
Good content and quality links are what determine SERPS these days. "4 occurrences of keyword here and 6 occurrences of keyword there"-type advice is useless imho. SE's have evolved significantly since the AltaVista/LookSmart days.
Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.
I suspect most professional SEOs do not use these type of programs. What changes did you make to your site?