Phylogenies based on DNA sequence data are providing a range of new insights into relationships within Acanthomorpha, particularly in cases where morphological characters have been scanty or misleading. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of the perciform suborder Gobioidei have illuminated relationships within and among groups, with recovered clades generally corresponding to groups identified based on morphological characters. This study integrates and expands previous molecular phylogenetic hypotheses to infer a comprehensive gobioid phylogeny, including a variety of outgroup taxa included to confirm sister taxon identity and position of the group among other acanthomorphs. This and other phylogenetic hypotheses indicate that Gobioidei is part of a clade that also includes Apogonidae, Pempheridae, and Kurtidae. These groups share characteristics of the skeleton, soft tissues, and reproductive ecology. A new six-family clade-based classification of Gobioidei is presented, and Gobioidei, Apogonoidei (Apogonidae Pempheridae), and Kurtoidei are placed as suborders of a resurrected Gobiiformes. Patterns of morphological character evolution among gobioids are then examined in the context of the molecular phylogeny, and their distribution is correlated with species diversification and phylogenetic imbalance. The two largest gobioid clades, Gobiidae and Gobionellidae, differ significantly in species richness, perhaps due to increased diversification in marine habitats by gobiids. The phylogeny of Gobiidae exhibits a convex plot of lineages through time, consistent with an elevation of speciation rate early in the clade's history. The γ statistic is consistent with this increase, but is not significant after correction with the Monte Carlo Constant Rates (MCCR) test.