I submitted a page to Google Search Console and got an error message "Duplicate without user-selected canonical".

The full URL is https://example.com/french-english-translator-iphone-ipad.html but I want it to appear without the file extension in Google search results.

So I included the canonical link in the tab below.

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/french-english-translator-iphone-ipad”>

I have seen several articles including in a Moz blog that showed canonical links without file extensions.

So, do I have to include the file extension in the canonical link?

How can a tell Google that I don't want .html shown in Google search results?

Google selected a URL without a file extension for another one of my pages, so it appears that the answer to my question is no.

However, in the new canonical URL chosen by Google, they added "www." before the URL. I don't include "www." in my URLs and I don't want Google to display "www." in search result.

I thought the whole purpose of canonical links is to tell Google the URL you wand used to access and display a page in the search results. What good is that if Google assigns canonical URLs different than the ones you provide?

  • 2
    Does the URL work without the file extension? You can configure web servers to allow URLs to work without the extension, but it usually isn't the default. Aug 4, 2019 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


You have to use a URL that resolves to the document.

canonical is a means to determine which of some duplicate URLs is the "real" one.

It is not a means to arbitrarily customise the URL that shows up in search results.

If you want to use a URL with no file extension in it as the canonical one, then you can… so long as when the client asks the server for that URL it responds with the document.

How you configure the server to do that depends on the server yhou are using.


Please use the file extension. You need it - *.html, *.asp, *.pdf or whatever it may be - if that is the URL. Depending on CMS or Web Application Framework, you can choose to display file extension or don't (respectively on web server level - Apache, Nginx). Same applies to a folder - whether you wish to have a trailing slash or not. But whatever you want you to need to use for your canonical links. Your URL is your URL period.

You have no control over how it will be displayed within the SERP results on Google. Besides, the link within Google SERPs (in green, below the Title tag) doesn't show file extensions - so you don't have to worry about it.

What you saw on Moz was a canonical link to a folder (with landing page) or a URL that doesn't display the file extension.

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