As per what i have been following regards what my competitors has done (taking into account my niche), i have noticed the ones in the top 4 has done one thing in common and that is grown thier G+ circle followers for the G+ page to a huge number.
Okay, that and the other things you've mentioned by "following the people above you" seem to have been working, but now you're into the "finite differences" in the results and the scrutiny of your site will increase, not only from Google, but from real visitors, so how do you "take a step forward" your competitors haven't thought of yet?
Basically, "doing what they are" got you where you are, but now the "big challenge" is: how do you "out do them" and make your site more compelling, more likeable, more usable, more shared than they are? If you can answer and implement the answer to that question, then you'll likely end up above those you're competing against, imo -- Once you've done that, then you have to figure out how to "stay a step ahead" of them to stay at the top.
It's definitely a challenge and being in the top 10 for anything competitive is definitely an accomplishment, so you should feel good about being where you are, even if you're "stuck" there for a bit, but moving from somewhere in the top 10 to 1 can be as difficult, if not more difficult, than getting into the top 10, so challenge yourself to find a way to not follow any more, but start setting the standard.