WordPress SEO Meta data migration or transfer may be required when you change themes or SEO plugins. SQL or WordPress SEO data transporter plugins can help you in this critical activity.
There are many excellent SEO plugins such as All in One SEO, Platinum SEO etc. available for WordPress. Some of these WordPress plugins uses its own Meta data naming conventions to store the SEO Meta data such as Title, Description, and Keyword etc.  in the WordPress MySQL database. This creates challenges when you are moving from one SEO plugin to another or to a different theme.
This is because the old article’s SEO data may be stored using its own database field name (Meta key) and the new theme may be using a different name. If you don’t transfer the existing SEO Meta data to the new plugin/theme pattern the existing posts and articles will lose the SEO data and there by SEO benefits.
In this article we are going to take a look at how the SEO meta data are stored and how to transfer the existing SEO meta data from one to another while changing the SEO plugins or themes.

How WordPress Stores SEO Meta Data

WordPress stores the SEO data of each of the article, posts and pages in the table named ‘wp_postmeta‘. This table name will be different if you have opted to rename the table prefix during WordPress installation.
By default WordPress and most of the SEO plugin uses the ‘title‘ meta key for title, ‘description‘ meta key for description and ‘keywords‘ meta key for keywords.
If you have access to your WordPress database using tools such as “phpMyAdmin“, you can execute the below SQL query to see the existing SEO meta values such as title, description, keywords etc.

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SELECT post_id, meta_key, meta_value
FROM wp_postmeta
WHERE meta_key
IN (
'title', 'description', 'keywords'
)
order by post_id ASC

See a sample below.wordpress-seo-meta-data
But some of the themes and SEO plugins use different meta keys to store the SEO meta data. For example the recent versions of All in One SEO seo meta data using keys such as ‘_aioseop_title’, ‘_aioseop_description’, ‘_aioseop_keywords’.
The thesis theme uses ‘thesis_title’, ‘thesis_description’, ‘thesis_keywords’ meta keys for title, description and keywords respectively.

In such scenario you need to ensure that you migrate all those SEO meta data so that the new theme or plugin can retrieve them while rendering the responses.

Migrate or Transfer SEO Meta Data From one Theme or Plugin to Another

Method 1: Manually update the tables using SQL

If you are familiar with MySQL and SQL queries, you can use SQL to update the SEO meta data based on new theme or plugin. For example if you are moving from your current theme where you use All in One SEO to Thesis theme you can use the following query to update the SEO meta data.

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insert wp_postmeta (post_id,meta_key,meta_value)
select post_id, concat('thesis_', substring(meta_key,10)), meta_value
from wp_postmeta 
where 
meta_key in ('_aioseop_title','_aioseop_description','_aioseop_keywords');

Similarly if you are using other plugin such as Platinum SEO pluin you can use the following query.

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insert wp_postmeta (post_id,meta_key,meta_value)
select post_id, concat('thesis_',meta_key),meta_value
from wp_postmeta 
where 
meta_key in ('title','description','keywords');

Method 2: Automatic SEO meta data transfer using WordPress plugins

There is an excellent free WordPress plugin that helps you to migrate or transfer SEO meta data from one theme or plugin to another without using SQL or accessing database. This is particularly useful if you are not that good in database and SQL.
SEO Data Transporter plugin does exactly the same. This plugin allows you to transfer your inputs SEO data from one theme/plugin to another. The plugin supports a number of themes and a list of all good SEO plugins. See the list below.
Supported Themes

  • Builder
  • Catalyst
  • Frugal
  • Genesis
  • Headway
  • Hybrid
  • Thesis
  • WooFramework

Supported Plugins

  • Add Meta Tags
  • All in One SEO
  • Greg’s High Performance SEO
  • Headspace2
  • Meta SEO Pack
  • Platinum SEO
  • SEO Ultimate
  • WordPress SEO

Always ensure that if you are changing your theme or plugin make sure that the new themes should be able to access SEO meta data for all existing posts and pages.

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