Chris O'Brien has a fantastic Blog post - Using CSOM in PowerShell Scripts with Office 365: One of the examples that he provides is how to import search configuration from an XML file, this is a new feature in SharePoint 2013 that is documented here -

I've put together a PowerShell script that can be used to export the search configuration, using this along with Chris's script is a great way to copy Search configuration between Site Collections.

Three variables need to be updated prior to running the script (highlighted), $User is the username of a tenant administrator, $Site is the URL of the Site within the tenant to export the search configuration from and $Schema is the location of the file to write the configuration to.

#Please install the SharePoint client components SDK - prior to running this script.

#Specify tenant admin, site URL and scope to export from
$User = ""
$SiteURL =
$Scope = "SPSite"
$Schema = "D:\SearchSchema.XML"

#Add references to SharePoint client assemblies and authenticate to Office 365 site - required for CSOM
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll"
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\15\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Search.dll"

$Password = Read-Host -Prompt "Please enter your password" -AsSecureString
$Creds = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($User,$Password)

#Export search configuration
$Context = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($SiteURL)
$Context.Credentials = $Creds
$Owner = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Search.Administration.SearchObjectOwner($Context,$Scope)
$Search = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Search.Portability.SearchConfigurationPortability($Context)
$SearchConfig = $Search.ExportSearchConfiguration($Owner)
$SearchConfig.Value > $Schema

Brendan Griffin - @brendankarl