I know how to retrieve the Metadata via this questions; Metadata - Case Search Layout
And I understand that they must be retrieved via the Object or Custom Object itself and the list of components editable via the Metadata API can be found here: https://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/api_meta/Content/meta_types_list.htm
It's getting quite thorough!
I am having difficulty, though, finding some examples on how to deploy Search Layout-specific syntax via Force.come IDE or ANT Migration Tool. Here you'll see the field labels are a bit different and then there's the actual deployment process.
Do you need to deploy the entire object with all parameters each time? Or can you just deploy the Object with only the changed Search layouts referenced?
Update It should be noted that the syntax for Search Layout is NOT the same as the API name. For ease of time, it's best to retrieve the objects using Force.com IDE or ANT and adjust then deploy.