Become a Yoast SEO pro:

Yoast SEO Import & Export features

When you’re a web developer or SEO, working with many clients, you probably have a set of settings for Yoast SEO for WordPress that you prefer. You might have a default title template, for instance, default XML sitemap settings, etc. This post will teach you how to easily apply those settings to a site quickly using the Yoast SEO Import and Export features.

Import and export in the Yoast SEO plugin

Making a reusable Yoast SEO Export file

Let’s make a reusable settings file! First, pick a site and set it up as you would any site, applying all of your default SEO settings. Then you go to the Yoast SEO Import and Export page (Yoast SEO → Tools → Import and Export). On this page, you’ll find a couple of tabs:


Click on Export for the first step. You’ve got an option on this tab to include taxonomy metadata but you can ignore that for this reusable file, as this would include specific category meta descriptions and so forth, not really something you wish to apply to every site. Click Export, if all goes well, this should create a notice that allows you to download a file called

Example of a notice on the Yoast SEO Export screen allowing you to download the export file

The secret of Yoast SEO Export files

The (not so secret) secret of Yoast SEO Export files is that the zip file contains a single file, called settings.ini. This .ini file is easily editable with any text editor and follows the standard PHP .ini file structure. It’ll look something like this:

settings.ini - the contents of a Yoast SEO Export file

Each set of options starts with the option name in brackets, like [wpseo] and [wpseo_permalinks] in the example above. The reason you’ll want to edit it is because you want it to be reusable. So you’ll want to remove any and all site specific data, like a company logo & name, verification strings for Bing, Google, Yandex, etc.

Once you’ve made your changes, simply save the file and zip it again. We force you to zip the file because most hosts will not allow the direct upload of .ini files for security reasons.

Import the Yoast SEO Export file

Now, on the site you want to apply these settings to, go to the Yoast SEO Import page (Yoast SEO → Tools → Import and Export, the first tab), select your new zip file and click Import settings. That’s it. Nothing more to it, you’ve easily applied all your default settings to your new site.

If you set up a lot of sites, this will save you valuable minutes every time you do so!

Read more: Why you should buy Yoast SEO Premium »

Become a Yoast SEO pro series

Make Yoast SEO & Woo work together smoothly

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  • Make products easier to find on your site
  • Have a cleaner XML sitemap & more
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