If your competitors have left you quite a long way behind in rankings then it is not very difficult to find out their strategy, replicate it, and even better it for improved rankings. Your competitors will leave digital trails that can be accessed, analyzed, and utilized for your benefit.
You need to firstly extract data of your own website’s backlinks as well as your chosen competitors by using tools such as Majestic SEO, ahrefs, Open Site Explorer, or any other of your choice. You then need to import that data into Excel. You must possess skills to create and use pivot tables to proceed ahead.
Once you have your desired data in a formatted table then you can add an extra column and begin adding domains minus the www and http:// prefixes, for more accuracy. You then need to double-click on the right corner of the cell and keep on repeating to fill the data set right to the bottom. You need to keep doing this every time new backlinks are added until you have a table full of mixed backlinks.
Next, you need to utilize the LEFT as well as SEARCH functions to extract domains from those backlink URLs. You can now create your own pivot table by ticking on settings such as Site, Domain, URL, Page Authority, etc. If you want well-spaced rows in your pivot table then you can use the Outline Layout option rather than the default Compact Layout. You can do so from the Pivot Table Tools option that can be accessed by clicking on any cell in your pivot table.
If you do not want to tamper with row heights in your pivot table then you can extract individual observations in text boxes placed on the left side of your pivot table. You can additionally attach links to those text boxes that were linked to specific cells in that table.
Now, all you need to do is to dig deep into that data and begin reverse-engineering to find out the secrets employed by your competitors to achieve better rankings. You should not blindly copy your competitors’ backlinking tactics, but should also learn from this data about which links can be good as well as bad for you.