Is a competitor's website consistently outranking yours even though it has thin content and few backlinks? What you see as thin content may be just what someone is looking for. People may not want encyclopedic-level detail about certain topics, leading to a high bounce rate. Google sees a high bounce rate as a sign that a site isn't helpful for a specific search term.
Don't assume your SEO software is showing you all of your competitors backlinks. Tools which analyze your competitor's search engine optimization, specifically backlinks, are often not as accurate and complete as you would like. Quality SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, don't list every backlink and some sites hide backlinks by not letting bots scrape their website. The publisher may want to hide links they bought or they may not want a competitor to take advantage of their hard work finding relevant sites.
Another reason for a publisher to hide backlinks from their competitor’s SEO software is they may have a private blog network. A PBN is a group of relevant sites which all link back to one money site; in this case, your competitor’s site which currently outranks you. Google does not like PBNs, however, they are very useful because you can vary the anchor text and page you link to because you have complete control.
Several years ago, you could buy links from PBNs but Google's crackdown on them had website owners losing money as the search engine de-listed the networks. The only way to get links from a PBN without getting caught is to own the network and make sure it does not attract attention. The last thing a PBN owner wants is competitors emailing them to see if they can get a link back to their website.
The most important thing you can do to outrank your competitors is to stop worrying so much about what they are doing and worry more about what potential visitors want from your website. For more information click here https://www.reddit.com/r/SEO/comments/b83jj5/howisthisguybeating_me/.