Alginates from seaweed are used in chronic wound management, though the molecular and cellular effects of various alginate dressings are not well documented. We have developed ultrapure sodium-alginates from Pseudomonas fluorescens with different content and distribution of single guluronic acid (G) residues (0–45% G), and tested their biological activities on human primary keratinocytes (KCs). The alginates inhibited KC migration and induced expression of differentiation markers. The potency of the alginates correlated with the increasing percentage of single G residues. These findings were explained by different binding and release of ionic calcium (Ca++) from the alginates which subsequently triggered differentiation. Ca-free alginates had no effect on KC migration and differentiation, but the chemokine receptor CXCR7 was upregulated. Q-PCR revealed that also CXCL12/SDF-1, one of two known CXCR7-ligands, was induced by the alginates. Both CXCR7 and CXCL12-induction was dependent on the alginate G-content, and highest upregulation was induced by an alginate with 19% single G residues. In the epidermis, CXCR7 expression was restricted to the basal layer. This study defines two biological effects of ultrapure alginates on KCs, both being dependent on the alginate structure, and being either dependent or independent of Ca.